Friday, January 15, 2016

Why is it so cold in Rome, Ohio?

Last winter, Rome, Ohio in Ashtabula County reached an unofficial state record low temperature of -39. Why is Rome, Ohio so cold compared to other rural locations?  It lies in a valley surrounded by higher elevation. The denser, colder air drains into the valley when the sky conditions are clear and the winds are relatively calm. The heavy snow cover also promotes more cold.



I emailed a variety of people within the National Weather Service asking why this temperature was not certified as the new state record low. Gerry Creager explains:

"In general (and there are others on here who can correct me if I'm wrong), US NWS, and climatological records are recorded by the National Weather Service Forecast Office with responsibility for that area, as well as the Operational Monitoring Branch of the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/information/who_we_are/miss_analysis.shtml).
In addition, the various State Climatologists are responsible for their local data, and report to their own State, often as direct reports (at least on paper) to their Governor.
There are three networks of stations that might use for climate monitoring, including the Historical Climate Network, the Climate Reference Network, and the Federally maintained ASOS sensors usually found at airports. To the best of my knowledge, unofficial, and Citizen-Science sources are not included in monitoring extremes for records, but may be used, as they are in operational meteorology, as sanity checks for other observations. 
I believe you can pull the MADIS Mesonet records, and look at METARs as well. There are several climate data sets in there, but the ASOS data are present, as are the CWOP data. You might also want to peruse http://www.noaa.inel.gov/crn/crn.htm, and the NCDC holdings.
Note: This is based on my knowledge and interpretation due to my research, and some of the work I do with the CWOP servers. There are other folks, associated with the Federal side of CWOP and MADIS, included here, who can provide more authoritative data, perhaps."
Regards
Gerry Creager
4-22-2015

John Horel from NOAA reiterated the same ...

"Gerry covered the issue very well. It is very difficult to get the Climate Extremes Committee managed by NCDC to use networks beyond NWS/FAA.
See http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records
for more details on the process, etc."
Regards
John
So it doesn't look promising that Rome, Ohio will officially break the all-time state low temperature record set back in 1899 in Milligan, Ohio

4 comments:

garym said...

Scott, It would be nice to see this topo map on your broadcasts, along with this it would explain snowfall amounts in certain areas in different situations. keep up with the good work.

Michael Letterle said...

I'm betting going over the topo map on air would be pish-poshed by the producers, however it would be nice to see a video or something using a real forecast + actual totals or something to see how it all lines up.

Scott Sabol said...

i might create one :)

Dennis Boylan said...

do you have this same type map for the western side of the viewing area?