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By 5 Acres and A Dream
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Thermometer Discrepancies

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I have two digital thermometers that measure daily outdoor and indoor temperatures. The oldest is my Acu-Rite.

It was cheap, has no bells and whistles, but records daily maximum and minimum temps, which is what I want for my daily record keeping.
The second is newer, a Logia that Dan and I bought ourselves for Christmas last year. 

Although cheap for it’s class, it has a lot of fancy features that are useful. The biggest problem I have with it, is that the time is always an hour off. I’ve reset it, tried it on daylight savings mode or not, even changed time zone, but when it does it’s radio check to update itself, it reverts back to this hour-off flaw. I need to mention that because even though the time on these thermometers appears to be an hour different, these photos were actually take less than a minute apart. Which brings me to what I want to blog about, i.e. they are reporting significantly different outdoor air temperatures.

I’ve been puzzling over this, and the first thing that comes to mind is sensor location. The Acu-Rite sensor is attached to a post on our back porch. 

It’s in the shade, but  there are two factors that influence temperature:

  1. The porch is concrete. Concrete absorbs and retains heat. That’s why it’s always so much hotter in towns and cities with more concrete than plants and trees. 
  2. I cook and can on the back porch and use a fan in the window to vent the heat. That hot air is vented to where the sensor is.
The Logia is located on a pole above our carport.

It’s elevated to about second-story height and is in the full sun. I expected it to be the one to report higher temps, but that hasn’t been the case. Could the modest elevation make such a difference? I don’t know.
I’ve kept track of the maximum and minimum temps of these two, and the discrepancy is consistent. What I found curious, though, is that the Acu-Rite’s higher temp is close to the Logia’s heat index temp. And that led to a discussion between Dan and myself about what temperature is and which is more accurate: what the thermometer says or what if feels like. Dan felt the Acu-Rite was more correct because of how hot and sticky it’s been. That led to talking about objective and subjective assessment: dry heat versus humid heat, wind versus no wind, and all that. When the humidity is low, it feels better. When there’s a breeze (another factor) a hot day is more tolerable. So, which one should is more correct? Which one should I use for my daily record keeping?
As an experiment, I changed the location of the Acu-Rite sensor. I hung it behind the solar battery bank box. When I later checked the read-out, the temperature reported ten degrees lower than the old spot. But it’s darker and damper there, plus it picks up the cooler crawlspace temp, which is vented by Dan’s exhaust fan in the crawlspace door. 
I use the Logia’s max/min button to notate the daily highs and lows. I don’t record humidity, because the high is always in the early morning before it heats up. But maybe I should start recording a high and low for humidity too. And perhaps I should start jotting down the high for the heat index. Because while I believe objective data to be the most significant, it’s the conditions we have to work outdoors in that impact our experience. 
I have to say, that this exercise has made me look at weather reports differently. Now, I wonder where they got their highs and lows from. Where is the thermometer located? On the roof of a concrete building? Atop a pole in a blacktopped parking lot? In the shade over a grassy lawn? They never say, but it makes a big difference. 
In the end, I moved the Acu-Rite to a completely different location. It’s now being used to assess pantry and crawl space temps. And I’ll start recording noting humidity and heat index in my monthly garden reports. I’m not sure any of that will be useful in the long-run, but it sort of suits my personality.
Does anybody else record things like rainfall and temperatures? What are your thoughts?


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