Temperature reading not always highest or lowest
Have you ever wondered if a temperature reading for a place for today or tomorrow shows the hottest or coldest temperature for that day? timeanddate.com briefly explains why daily temperature readings may not be the maximum or minimum temperature for a location on a particular day.
How today’s general temperature reading works
Temperature refers to the degree of hotness or coldness of the ambient air as measured by any suitable instrument. At a glance, one may assume that a general temperature reading for a particular day is the maximum or minimum temperature. However, this is not always the case.
For example a weather forecast showing 25 degrees Celsius (about 86 degrees Fahrenheit) for a location does not mean that this is the highest or lowest temperature for that area on the day. It simply means that these are just sample values indicating what to expect with regard to the day’s temperature. Maximum and minimum temperatures are often recorded at specified times in a day.
Temperature recordings vary across weather stations. It is important to take into account that stations that record temperatures less frequently (eg. a six-hour interval rather than every hour) may show that a location’s general temperature for the day is a certain amount but it does not always represent the location’s highest or lowest daily temperatures.
What affects temperature readings?
Air temperature generally varies from day to night because of changes in the amount of radiation heating Earth’s atmosphere. Air temperature also changes with the seasons. Summers are warmer than winters except near the equator where temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The sun is higher in the sky and days are longer in the summer.
The intensity of sunlight striking the Earth’s surface increases when the sun is higher above the horizon. More sunlight hours in a day could mean more solar heating at a particular place. Altitude also affects air temperature. The air temperature generally drops within the troposphere so it is usually colder on a mountain top than in the lowlands.
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