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WeatherTalk: Where is the temperature measured?

Look at your car thermometer and check your weather app and you will likely see different readings.

Cartoon of John Wheeler with a speech bubble depicting weather events

You likely see the temperature somewhere every day: on your car dashboard, a bank thermometer, an app or on our weathercast on television. But if you pay close attention, those temperature readings are not always the same. Even if you are in a bank parking lot, looking at your car thermometer and checking your weather app all at the same time, you will likely see a different temperature reading for each device.

Temperatures at banks and other businesses are often taken on the roof of the building or on the sign itself, not at human level. The temperature you read on the dashboard of a vehicle is actually taken from a thermistor, not a thermometer itself, and is often located lower to the ground. Weather apps most often display computer model data, not an actual measured air temperature near of your phone. The temperatures we use on television are actual air temperatures but usually from the nearest airport.

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