John Wheeler: Temperature forecasting lately has been difficult within a narrow range

The temperature inversion has kept our temperatures within a narrow range, but forecasting the rises and falls has been tricky.

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FARGO — Forecasting temperatures this month has been both easy and hard. The persistent temperature inversion — air that gets warmer with height up to a few hundred or a few thousand feet — which has been responsible for all the foggy weather has kept our temperatures mostly within a fairly narrow range, mostly in the teens and 20s, so that's the easy part. The hard part is that the inversion is impacted by cloud cover. The typical sequence is as follows.

In the evening, the air cools near the ground, causing fog and low clouds to form. These low clouds cause outbound radiation to bounce back to the ground, and the temperatures begin to rise overnight. The following day, the fog disperses, and the low clouds move higher, causing the temperature to fall. All of this is within five to 15 degrees, but the process varies greatly from pace to place, depending on the thickness of the fog and the height of the low clouds.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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