Recently I had some of my readers comment that they thought that The Weather Channel and USA Today (which uses TWC graphics) temperature maps seemed to look “hotter”. They suspected that the colors had changed. I tend to watch such things since my own company (IntelliWeather) produces similar maps.
I searched Google images for some saved older TWC maps, but found none. So I can’t be absolutely sure they have or have not changed. But looking at the color scheme, nothing sticks out in my recollection of the temperature map colors.
But I decided that it would be an interesting exercise to compare USA national temperature maps from the commonly used services today. I saved national CURRENT temperature isotherms/gradient maps from around 03Z (11PM Eastern Time) tonight. All were generated within about an hour of each other.
What I found was surprising. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Intellicast: (probably the ugliest national temp map I’ve ever seen)
A couple of notes on the graphics: The Weather Channel does not show their color key, nor does IntelliCast. From experience it appears the with the exception of the IntelliWeather map, all maps have fixed color schemes. The IntelliWeather map uses a sliding scale of color based on the max and min temps presented in the data. Also, I tried to include AccuWeather, but could not locate a current national temperature map from that company. They had everything else but that.
UPDATE: I decided that even though AccuWeather did not have a CURRENT temperature map, the color and color key on their HIGH TEMPERATURE FORECAST map would suffice for this comparison, since it a similar range of temperatures presented, from (50’s to 90’s) so here it is:
Note the color scale and where the perceived “cooler” colors start on the AccuWeather map.
So what do you think?
Is it just me or does there appear to be a warm bias in the color temperature presentation of the majority of providers shown here? Just an FYI, I designed my color scheme for the IntelliWeather Map in 2001, well before I started blogging, so please no suggestions that I skewed this comparison with my own map color scheme.
Along those lines, I’ll point out that the color choices are usually done either by a meteorologist, or a graphic artist/programmer or both. Usually the color scheme is the result of the input from a couple people. In my case, myself and my graphic artist made the choice. In places like TWC or AccuWeather, the choice may be made initially by one or two then approved by a larger group.
The point I’m trying to make is that each map represents the color and temperature perception of the presenting organization, as I don’t know of any “standard” for map colors used for air temperature presentation. Having said that, somebody will probably put one in front of me that I’ve never known about. 😉