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September 27, 2011

Why do some temperature records endure?

Old Man of the MountainsFR0M TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

The human brain is wired to seek patterns in its environment. From babyhood we look for faces, and see them everywhere – in clouds, wallpaper, even rock profiles. I see and wonder about patterns in weather statistics.

 For example, why have 10 of the 30 record-high daily minimum temperatures for Baltimore in September endured since the 1800s?

One streak of four from 1881 still stands: From Sept. 27 to 30, the daily low never fell below 73.

And 24 of the 30 records were set before 1933. Why?

(PHOTO: New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountains. The profile collapsed in 2003. Wikipedia Commons)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 AM | | Comments (1)


Darn it, you've had me thinking about this for days and still can't come up with many ideas! First thing that comes to mind is where, exactly, were these measurements taken? Then, did instrumentation become more accurate? Also, what about drought--there were major US droughts in the 1860s-1870s and in the late 1920s-1930s. Finally, it seems like all these records will be broken in the next 10-20 years if present trends continue.

FR: Puzzled me, too. You would expect urban heat island effects to be smaller back then, allowing nights to cool down more, not less. Then I started to wonder whether all the wood and coal smoke in the air might have impeded radiational cooling at night.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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