Why NYC’s REAL summer temperatures should be measured at Newark airport

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – If you think the temperature is high now, brace yourself.  Not only might the temperature — the actual temperature, mind you, not how hot it feels — be higher than reported, but it may go even higher as the week wears on.  That’s in contradiction to some computer models that showed the temperature getting slightly lower throughout this scorching week.

Also, we’re on course to have many more stretches of 90 degree-plus days this summer than we’ve seen in quite some time or perhaps ever.

It’s all the result of research by meteorologists at Weather 2000, a meteorological research company that forecasts long-term weather trends as well as performing detailed weather analysis.

Its meteorologists know as well as anyone that it’s hot outside.  It’s mid-July, after all.  But Weather 2000 chief meteorologist Michael Schlacter had a slightly different take on the weather being as hot as it is right now.

“Often times, it’s late July to mid-August that we usually see all of this [steadily hot weather].  So we’re ahead of the ballgame of where we should be for mid-July,” he said in an interview with PIX11 News.

In other words, this year it’s hotter, for a longer period of time, earlier in the summer than usual.  Later this summer, it’s likely to be as hot as always, or even hotter.

Before we reach that point, however, the temperature may be even higher now than reported at the official New York City thermometer in Central Park, according to Weather 2000’s meteorologists.

They say that the Central Park weather station, which is near the summit of the park’s Belvedere Castle hill, is not in a location that most accurately records the heat that the average person in the New York metropolitan area feels.

“[The Central Park Conservancy is] almost making it like a shaded, tropical rainforest, so to speak,” said Schlacter about the weather station’s location, which is surrounded by lush, green trees, bushes and weeds that grew even thicker in the near-record rains of this past spring.  “It’s keeping temperatures cooler than some of the true urban areas,” Schlacter said.

A more accurate reading, according to Schlacter, “We actually like Newark Airport to represent what everybody feels in the five boroughs [and beyond].”

The weather station at Newark Liberty is on the airport’s flightline, with no vegetation around it except for grass, and nothing else sheltering it.  It’s also located inland, unlike the weather stations at LaGuardia and JFK Airports, which tend to record slightly lower temperatures because of the effects of sea breezes and close proximity to cool water at those two airports.

One other exception to Monday’s weather, as determined by Weather 2000’s research, is that, contrary to many weather computer models, the heat will increase later in the week, rather than be hottest at the beginning of the week.

“Instead of Monday and Tuesday having the highest temperatures,” Schlacter said, “we see that happening toward the end of the work week.”

A major reason for that, he said, is a phenomenon Weather 2000 forecasters call thermal momentum.  The concept maintains that when there is a series of hot days, as is the case this week, each hot day makes the day that follows it that much hotter.

“If you’re already starting the day at dawn in the 80’s, it doesn’t take much to quickly get into the 90’s in the afternoon,” Schlacter told PIX11 News.

He also pointed out that a month or so ago, people in the New York metro area were complaining about high temperatures only being in the 60’s, along with seemingly endless rain.

The high was 63 degrees on June 7th, and 69 degrees on June 13th.  However, those conditions, which people seem to have forgotten, were misleading.

“June 2013 was actually decidedly higher [in temperature overall] than normal,” said Schlacter.  “What people fail to realize is that during the summer months, you can actually have several cooler than normal days, but have a hotter than normal month.  It’s just the fluctuations we deal with.”

Those fluctuations are apparently having an effect on temperature readings now.  The heavy rains that accompanied June’s lower than normal temperatures resulted in the heavy growth of shade vegetation around the Central Park weather station.  Those shady conditions, Schlacter contends, have resulted in that station’s generally lower temperature readings.