NEWTON:Sunrise versus Sunset Temperature Antarctica
 
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Name:* Brooke
Status: student
Grade: K-3
Location: TX
Country: USA
Date: Spring 2014


Question:
Is it colder at sunrise or sunset in the antarctic?


Replies:
Brooke,

During much of the year, especially aside from Summer, there is little variation in temperature during the daylight hours at McMurdo station, with the range of temperature during daylight hours often being only a few to several degrees. The weak atmospheric circulation and varying cloud cover tend to determine whether it is colder at sunrise or sunset, more than the diurnal temperature trend does.

David R. Cook Meteorologist / Team Lead Atmospheric and Climate Research Program Environmental Science Division Argonne National Laboratory


Brooke

I have to make an educated guess (hypothesis) because I have no direct experience in this:

What makes the most sense is that sunrise is colder, because sunset is right after the Sun was shining which should have warmed the air, at least somewhat. But one thing that will confuse my test results is that the temperature of the air at the local weather station at the time the temperature is recorded will depend on where the air came from. For example, if the air came from Florida it would be warmer, if the air came from Minnesota, it would be colder. Just like at your home, it can be cold on any summer day and warm on any winter day depending on where the local air mass came from.

Now to test the hypothesis:

I found an antarctic temperature log online at this address: http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/NZSP.html Notice that the temperature records that are shown are: 23 March 8 PM -68 ⁰ F 24 March 2 AM -70 ⁰ F 24 March 8 AM -68 ⁰ F 24 March 2 PM -68 ⁰ F

So does this prove my hypothesis? It kind of does, but not with any real certainty.

The data shows that it is colder at 2 AM in the early morning, but the temperature at sunrise and sunset is the same. But a small 2 ⁰ difference on one day isn't enough of a difference for me to say that my hypothesis is correct. So maybe you can follow this log for a couple of more days to see if the data tends more to support the hypothesis or to prove it false.

But, I found some interesting web sites for those who might be interested in Antarctic weather.

http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/antarctica/south-pole

http://en.allmetsat.com/metar-taf/antarctic.php?icao=NZSP

Well, I found this site that has longer term temperature logs for Antarctica. http://weather.gladstonefamily.net/site/NZSP

I copied a 56 day data log to a spread sheet that I'll attach to this message. I colored the night records in blue to make the data stand out more. I found that the air was colder on 59 mornings, 19 evenings, and the same on 6 days. So my hypothesis is strengthened, but I won't say for sure until the number of data points increases.

Sincere regards, Mike Stewart


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