Tuesday 6 December 2011

Temperature Max Min

The weather station that is sited at the Bronte Parsonage Museum collects masses of data every half hour for me for the next year. But, i also wanted to be able to collect personal comments and notes on the weather around Haworth. To do this I recruited 10 volunteers that were given a small kit comprising a thermometer and specially designed cards to note the weather everyday for the whole year too.

It took me ages to decide which thermometer to buy for everyone. I wanted a max and min bit on it - but most of the traditional thermometers have to be re-set manually everyday - so if it's sited outside you have to go out in all weathers to check it and re-set it. I wasn't sure if that would be convenient for everyone and i was worried i was asking a lot during bad weather etc... So in the end i settled on digital thermometers that can be attached to the outside of a window facing inwards - so you can check it in the comfort of your own house. It said they had a max / min setting too - all sorted!

However, i got this email the other day from one of the weather collectors:

Hi Rebecca

I’m starting to get into the swing of daily temperature readings...but find that I am unsure about the timing. I notice that the maximum & minimum readings are updated at 08.00 & 20.00 respectively. My poor brain is having difficulty working out the best time to take readings for each day! Just before 08.00 they are the minimum for the previous night and the maximum for the previous day. Between 08.00 & 20.00 they are the same minimum for the previous night but the maximum reading has reset and is meaningless, as it is just the temperature at the time of reading (assuming it gets hotter during the day). Just before 20.00 they are still the same minimum (unless it’s been even colder during the day!) but the maximum for that actual day. After 20.00 the minimum reading has reset and so becomes meaningless for that day, just recording the temperature at the time of reading. It seems to me that just before 20.00 is the only time that gives the actual temperatures for the previous 24 hours. Oh for a good old mercury max-min thermometer!

Does it matter? Perhaps I am being too pernickety!.. though it would obviously be more consistent if everyone does the same thing, otherwise some will be recording the actual day, some the previous day and some not really the daily max or min at all.

Sorry if that’s confusing. Let me know what you think.


Hmmmm - I didn't want everyone to get confused or bothered about taking readings every day. But i can see that the timings of the max / min are confusing. I've decided to leave it up to each individual to work it out and to write down what they are comfortable with. The temperature readings are only a part of my request of the volunteers and it's their descriptions that i'm most interested in - 10 different viewpoints of any one day throughout this year.
The posh weather station will fill in the gaps with all the technical data - hopefully.

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