Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Vostok, South Pole and Macapá

I'm looking at observations from all over the place right now. A few interesting things come up.

First off, Vostok, on the Antarctic ice cap, is a stunning -65°C. And they're not the coldest!. At the Concordia station, operated by the Australians, it's a ridiculous -68.9°C. By comparison, the actual south pole is balmy. But I wouldn't want to experience it. It's -63.0°C. (All of these, by the way, are still way off the world record, set at Vostok, of -89.6°C.) The funny thing about the observations at the south pole is that the winds are always out of the north (heehee). To actually tell the wind direction, they have set up a local grid system. So the winds are expressed in degrees relative to that grid. So far as I know, it's the only observation site in the world that does that.

Here's a couple of obs:
NZSP 061150Z 08008KT 9999 FEW020 -59/ A2908 RMK ALL WNDS GRID=
NZSP 061750Z 09008KT 9999 FEW020 -60/ A2901 RMK ALL WNDS GRID=
NZSP 062350Z 08009KT 9999 FEW020 SCT060 -62/ A2894 RMK ALL WNDS GRID=

Following data from Wednesday May 07 2008

NZSP 070550Z 10005KT 9999 FEW020 SCT060 -63/ A2891 RMK ALL WNDS GRID=

On the other end of the spectrum is a place at the mouth of the Amazon River, 2 minutes north of the equator. It is currently sitting at 25°C. This isn't too interesting, to be sure. It's the Amazon in Brazil. But consider this: since meteorological records have been kept, Macapá has never experienced a temperature below 18°C!

Now, I'd be willing to bet that other places in the world experience much the same, if not warmer, but this place has intrigued me for a long time.


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