Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How Cold and Wet Has It Been So Far This Year.... At Least In Skunk Bay....

A couple of days ago I posted a unique metric that measures how cold this winter has been so far.  I defined a “Winter Minute” as any minute where the temperature was less than or equal to 35 degrees.  The truth is, I stole this idea from Scott Sistek and put a different spin on it.  Scott has blogged about “Summer Minutes” in the past.  He defines a Summer Minute as any minute where the temperature is above 80 degrees.  I am looking at the other end of that equation....

So, we close the books on February today and have new “Year To Date” numbers as well.  It begs the question…. How cold and wet has 2017 been so far…. 

First, let’s look at “Winter Minutes”.  I only have 4 years of data with this level of granularity…  Since I have two temperature sensors, I have analysis for both.  The sensor on the water side will be warmer in the winter and colder in the summer.  So, for “Winter Minutes” the protected side numbers will be higher….  As you can see, 2017 Winter minutes are roughly double any other year.  On the water side we didn’t have a single “Winter Minute” in February of 2015 and 2016. 

Here are the totals: 

So, we now know that it wasn’t our imagination…..  It was COLD…..  Which begs the question, “Was it COLD and WET? …..  I have 11 years of data for this…. 

Here are the totals:

So….  Notice that 2017 Year to Date totals are the highest in 11 years….  Yup, it HAS been “Cold and Wet”.

There were some comments in my previous post about high energy bills and firewood consumption.  There is a common metric that is used to calculate energy needs to keep a building warm.  It is calculated using a base temperature when a building will start requiring energy to heat.  This can be a very complex formula that is used by engineers to do heat calculations in large buildings.  But, for the sake of the average layman, this can be a very simple calculation.  The metric is called "Heating Degree Days".  The baseline temperature is typically 65 degrees.  The formula calculates the difference between the baseline temperature and that actual outdoor temperature over a period of time.  In plain English, it measures the temperature difference between the base temperature and the actual outdoor temperature over a 24 hour period.  A very simple example would be if the average temperature over a 24 hour period was 45 degrees, the Heating Degree Days would be (65-45=20) 20 degree days.  This really is an approximation of the energy needs, but with this formula it gives us a nice static benchmark to understand energy requirements to heat our homes.  I have 11 years of data with this metric.   

These are the Year to Date numbers:

Well....  No surprise.....  2017 proves to be the coldest, wettest and the biggest energy hog in years….  :)

I have now added current, real time “Heating Degree Days” to my site.  SkunkBayWeather  I also have this data available on my Weather Station History link:  Historical Data  It is available on a daily, monthly and yearly summary.

I guess Punxsutawney Phil nailed this forecast..... 

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