Local meteorologists share concerns over temperature data from Hector International Airport

Several local meteorologists are raising concerns about the accuracy of temperature data coming from Fargo’s Hector International Airport

Hector International Airport is home of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) climate data measurement tool, otherwise known as an ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System). This tool is used to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and other necessary weather information for meteorologists and climate records. It is also the official measurement for the city of Fargo. The ASOS at the airport is under scrutiny from several local meteorologists due to claims of inaccurate temperature data.

“Really my entire career, I’ve always said the Airport is not a good place for agricultural purposes […] but in the last year the airport [sensor] has been reading high. It varies, but the average is between two and four degrees,” said Daryl Ritchison, North Dakota’s state climatologist in an exclusive interview with WDAY Radio. 

Speaking with WDAY Radio meteorologists Dean Wysocki and Justin Storm, they have also witnessed similar discrepancies in the data across the past couple years. Addressing the possible impact, Wysocki says it depends who you are.

“To the general public, it really doesn’t mean much, but to climate data, which Daryl keeps control of, it’s a big deal if you are a climate scientist and you are looking at record highs or record lows […] It is a big deal if you are keeping data on it.”

Ritchison says if you follow NDAWN’s (North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) measurements instead of the ASOS at Hector International Airport, it will consistently be two to four degrees cooler. Hector’s  ASOS is potentially not alone either. Wysocki says there have been concerns about the accuracy of weather data in Bismarck, and at numerous places across the country. 

Dean Wysocki posted an article on Hector International Airport’s ASOS warm bias on our Weather page. You can read it by clicking here

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