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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published August 01 2012

Weather Talk: Number of records broken in recent years misleading

There is an old sports expression: “Records are made to be broken.” In sports, records fall with some regularity because of improved training techniques and an increasing population creating a larger pool of athletes.

In recent years, weather records around the nation and the world have been breaking at an increasing rate as well. But while there is a general warming going on around the world, many of the weather records can be attributed to other causes.

Since the mid-1990s, there has been an explosion of new weather data from the development of automated weather observation equipment. So just like the increasing number of athletes around the world, there also has been an increasing number of weather sensors, and so more records are possible. Also, many of these automated sensors measure weather in ways inconsistent with traditional practices.

Many weather records are legitimate. But the sheer volume of broken weather records these days can be misleading.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com