Sunday, February 8, 2009

Measure This

I've been laying low in the hopes that my silence would encourage Mother Nature to ease up on her recent "no precipitation" policy. You're welcome. We received, by my observations, exactly two extremely isolated showers on Sunday evening measuring not even 1/16th of an inch of rain. It was glorious. I wish you would've been here to experience it. Maybe you were.

Anyway, things have been awfully quiet on the weather front here in Ye Olde Mile High. Sure, we had another round of Spring-like weather last week, but it wasn't quite as good as the previous one (no record high temps) and I refuse to write about substandard weeks of unseasonable warmth. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, however. I did. Very much so. I hope you did as well. Jennifer Zeppelin of News4 says it's the "5th driest snow season so far in 30 years." That's the actual headline of her story. It confuses me. But I get the message. It's dryer than an elderly porn star.

Mainly I've been pondering an issue very near and dear to my heart. If you're like me, and I hope to Christ's mother you're not, you've often wondered why the official snowfall measurement for the city of Denver is done at Denver International Aiport and not somewhere closer to town. For the uninitiated, DIA (which has the most bad ass sculpture(which killed its sculptor) of any airport in the world) is roughly 25 miles from the center of the great metropolis of Denver. But in terms of climatology, the airport is a world away.

I'm not going to get into it because it's boring as shit, but rest assured that the weather that occurs in downtown Denver is often quite a bit different than what's going on out at the airport. The proximity to the mountains, elevation and amount of concrete/buildings all play a factor, but I would guess that the actual high and low temperatures differ between downtown and DIA almost 248 times a year.

During the summer, the highs at the airport are generally cooler than the highs in the city which often deprives us of hard earned record high temperatures. Summer is already irritating enough, the least we can get for our troubles is a few records. But noooooo . . . we have play by the rules of the government . . . at least that's what 9News would have us believe:
Denver’s official temperature along with all other weather information including snowfall is recorded at DIA because commercial airports are the origin of regular weather observations in the United States. This is mandated by the National Weather Service and the Federal Aviation Administration. 9NEWS is not involved in the process of determining the location of official weather observation stations.
That is complete and utter bullshit in my humble estimation. How does such a thing make sense? Especially with all measurements before 1995 occurring a scant seven miles from the city (at the old Stapleton airport)? Our climatology records are going to be more twisted than the psychological records of Jon & Kate's eight kids in 30 years. There's no continuity and that just can't be a good thing. Studying the climate is all based on static measurements - not switching the location by 20 miles every so often. Damn it!

It would seem to me in this technologically advanced and instant information world that it would be OK to have an official measuring station somewhere in the city and then another one 25 fucking miles away at the airport. That doesn't seem like too much to ask for. Hell, according to 7News, they already kind of do this with the snowfall measurements:
Although the official weather measurements for Denver are made at the Denver International Airport, official snow observations for the city are still made at the old Stapleton Airport.
See, what's wrong with that? Nothing. That's what. Let's just go ahead and set up two different stations to measure weather here in our fine town. One can be at the airport and the other will be on the roof of my apartment. Let's make this happen. I'm going to write and email to Egger and see what she thinks. I'll keep you posted.Anyway, looks like a chance of flurries/light snow this evening so if you have to get out on the roads, leave work early and tell them Flip told you it was OK. No one is predicting over two inches or under a trace - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't sneak out of the job when you have the chance. Good luck.

1 comment:

Royal Tennenhorn said...

Flip, I'm concerned that should you even attempt to place a professional grade weather center on the top of your apartment, the whole damn thing might collapse.