Eric Davis's blog

A Better Approach to Calculating Daily Mean Temperature

June 16, 2017 - 3:18pm -- Eric Davis

The convention of the weather and climate community has been to calculate the observed daily mean temperature by summing the maximum and minimum instantaneous temperatures during a 24-hour period and dividing by two. However, does this recording method capture and represent the true average temperature over the course of a day? This conventional approach fails to integrate significant behaviors of temperature associated with rapid weather events, frontal passages, sea breezes, and even seasonal temperature variations. It is possible that sampling more frequently and finding a more representative value for daily temperature averages will reveal patterns in which the daily mean temperature skews towards the daily maximum or minimum (i.e., the full-day average temperature is more often closer to the daily maximum or the daily minimum).

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