Temps can vary based on location, micro-climates

On Saturday in Ashland, my car thermometer read 105. The thermometer in my home read 105. Yahoo reported a temperature of 106. However, the Sunday Mail Tribune reported a high of only 97. Where is the published temperature taken in Ashland? And why is it 9 to 10 degrees cooler than where I live in the Railroad District? I want to go there when it gets hot.

— Jerry K., Ashland

Jerry, the location of your thermometer as well as microclimates in and around Ashland create the temperature differences you're seeing.

The National Weather Service reported a high of 100 degrees on Saturday in Ashland, according to readings taken at the Ashland airport on Dead Indian Memorial Road.

Meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies said the NWS follows strict site requirements in order to get accurate readings. The requirements dictate where (above a grassy surface), how far above the ground and how far from pavement or a blacktop surface a thermometer can be placed.

Jerry, if your thermometer is located on the side of a building, on a roof or next to a blacktop surface, you'll most likely get higher readings than the ones we publish in the Mail Tribune.

Microclimates also contribute to discrepancies in the temperature readings. Altitude, wind, nearby bodies of water and even the direction your house or car is facing can cause significant differences in the temperature, Nelaimischkies said.

On Sunday, hot spells in various locations could be attributed to dry thunderstorm outflow, he added.

While you might find a cooler microclimate at the Ashland airport, you won't find a lot to do there on a hot day. Emigrant Lake or a friend's pool would be a better bet.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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