Reagan Airport’s questionable thermometer 

A weather station at Washington National/Reagan Airport, one of 64 Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) in the U.S. that records official temperatures for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), might not be accurate.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts, who blogs at Watts Up With That? says a reader alerted him to an 18-degree jump in temperature recorded by the DCA weather station on May 28 – in the middle of the night, after a thunderstorm. The reported high of 87.1 degrees at 12:25 a.m. was the official temperature reading for Washington, even though a nearby weather station at Andrews Air Force Base didn’t show a similar jump in temperature.

The National Weather Service (NWS) apparently admitted that the ASOS failed between midnight and 4 am, but NOAA did not correct the record.

Watts says, a similar thing happened in Hawaii last summer, where a malfunctioning thermometer at the Honolulu Airport weather station reported a string of new record highs. But NOAA refused to change the records.

“Invariably, such events almost always (though there are rare exceptions) seem to embrace a warm error, be it electronic or human error, or even transcription error,” said Watts, who started a surface station auditing project in 2007 that found that 89 percent failed to meet NWS’s own siting requirements.

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