You may recall I wrote about the “Pain in Maine” a couple of weeks back in reference to the painfully cold weather there. Here was the bulletin from NWS:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
0955 AM EST FRI JAN 16 2009
**********POTENTIAL STATEWIDE RECORD MINIMUM TEMPERATURE*************
AT 0730 AM EST THIS MORNING A USGS GAGE AT BIG BLACK RIVER RECORDED
A LOW TEMPERATURE OF -50F. THIS EXCEEDS THE CURRENT STATEWIDE
RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE OF -48F SET ON JANUARY 19TH…1925 AT VAN
BUREN. THIS REPORT IS CONSIDERED UNOFFICIAL UNTIL A REVIEW OF THE
EQUIPMENT AND DATA BY THE STATE CLIMATE EXTREMES COMMITTEE AS TO
THE VALIDITY OF THIS REPORT. IF THE COMMITTEE ASCERTAINS THAT THIS
IS INDEED A VALID REPORT…A SEPARATE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
WILL BE ISSUED AT THAT TIME.
It has been confirmed. Here is a public information statement from from the NWS in Caribou, ME. I’m appreciative of the detail the NWS used here to verify the reading.
|Public Information Statement
National Weather Service (NWS), Caribou, Maine
11:30 AM EST, Tuesday, February 10, 2009
New All-Time Low Temperature Recorded in Maine
On the morning of January 16, as New England was under the grip of an arctic blast, an all-time low temperature of -50° Fahrenheit was recorded for Maine. It was recorded at 7:30 a.m. EST at a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gauge on the Big Black River near Depot Mountain in northwestern Aroostook County. The previous record, -48° Fahrenheit, was set in Van Buren, Maine almost 84 years earlier, on January 19, 1925.
“It is exciting to be a part of this historic event.” said George Jacobson, Maine State Climatologist and Member of the State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC), the group that vetted this measurement for consideration as a new all time minimum temperature record for the State of Maine. “But the real benefit to the State is in good weather and climate data being recorded daily by the NWS, USGS and other partners in the scientific community.”
The lowest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. was -80 degrees Fahrenheit on January 23, 1971 at Prospect Creek, Alaska, according the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The lowest temperature recorded in the lower 48 states was -70 egress Fahrenheit on January 20, 1954 at Rogers Pass, Mont.
The existence of this temperature sensor owes to the partnership between the NWS Weather Forecast Offices in Caribou and Gray, and the USGS Maine Water Science Center in Augusta. This partnership resulted in installation of NWS supplied air temperature sensors on many existing NWS river forecast points and USGS stream gauges over the past several years. The aim of this partnership was to better serve society’s needs for high quality weather, water, and climate information.
Increasingly, partnerships such as this between the NWS and USGS are being founded to leverage resources used in weather, water, and climate research to better meet the public’s needs. This leverage has resulted in the nearly fourfold increase in the number of temperature reporting stations across the state of Maine between 1925 and 2009.
The process of challenging a state record is comprehensive. The initial report is considered unofficial until a review of the equipment and data is conducted by the State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) as to the validity of the report. These findings are submitted to the Director of the National Climatic Data Center for recommendation. The State Climate Extremes Committee includes: the National Weather Service, the State Climatologist, the Northeast Regional Climate Center, and the National Climatic Data Center.
Here is a brief summary of the process:
|Timeline of Events|
|01/19/1925 – W.H. Scott, a weather observer for the USDA, Weather Bureau, records a temperature of -48° Fahrenheit. Other notable temperatures from the area on that date were: -43° at Houlton, -41° at Presque Isle and Millinocket and -32° at Old Town and Winslow (all temperatures in Fahrenheit).10/1/1983 – USGS station 01010070 begins reporting river data for the Big Black River near Depot Mountain, in northwestern Aroostook County, Maine.
08/17/2005 – NWS temperature sensor installed.
07/26/2007 – Temperature sensor upgraded to current configuration.
01/06/2009 – Temperature sensor checked for accuracy by USGS.
01/16/2009 – Temperature sensor records -45.3° Celsius (-50° Fahrenheit).
01/16/2009 – NWS issues Public Information Statement advising of a potential new statewide all time record low temperature.
01/16/2009 – State Climate Extreme Committee (SCEC) activated.
01/21/2009 – SCEC conference call examines all available data. Operating range of temperature sensor questioned.
01/23/2009 – Two temperature sensors and data logger sent to the USGS Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility for testing.
01/30/2009 – Temperature Sensors and data logger tested to a low temperature of -50.0° Celsius (-58° Fahrenheit). Sensors perform within their specified accuracy of ± 0.2° Celsius over entire temperature test range.
02/04/2009 – SCEC reconvenes. A vote was called for recommending that the -45.3° Celsius
h/t to Joe D’Aleo