Denver’s unusual hot back to school period continued on Tuesday with another record-setting high temperature. While the mercury reading was extraordinarily hot, the setting of another record highlights the ongoing problems with Denver's climate record.
At 1:34 p.m. the mercury climbed to 99 degrees at Denver International Airport. This beats the previous record high temperature for the date of 98 degrees set in 1987.
At midnight tonight we may see yet another record fall. The record high minimum for today’s date is 67 degrees. This morning the temperature only dropped to 71 degrees at DIA. If by midnight we don’t drop to the 67 degree mark, that will be another record for the Mile High City.
Today’s record is the third in the past four days. On Sunday, August 18 we tied the record high for that date of 98 degrees. That followed a record-breaker on Saturday the 17th when the mercury topped 97 degrees, breaking the old record for that date of 96 degrees.
One thing these records do continue to teach us is how invalid it is to compare records at Denver International Airport compared to historical locations where Denver’s official temperature was measured prior to 1994.
Today for instance, the station at Denver City Park recorded 97 degrees.
Hot yes. Record-setting no.
Similarly, on Sunday the 18th City Park recorded 95 degrees versus DIA’s mark of 98 degrees. On Saturday when DIA recorded a record-breaking 97 degrees, City Park saw 96 degrees.
The difference in measurements is something we have seen repeatedly since 1994. The move of Denver’s official monitoring station is corrupting the city’s climate record.
With a location 14 miles east of where official temperatures were measured prior to DIA, it is in an entirely different microclimate and as a result it experiences different conditions – sometimes considerably different – to locations closer to downtown.
For more on the topic of Denver’s problematic weather station, see these previous stories:
- The fallacy of Denver’s climate records: Weather station move skews data
- Part 1 - Overview and history.
- Part 2 - Data analysis. Is there a problem?
- Part 3 - Solutions, conclusions and why you should care.