I’m old, so I’ve seen a lot of weather maps in my time…

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that weather maps seem to be experiencing ‘red shift’, but not in the cosmological connotation.

Back in “The Old Days” (TM), it wasn’t really hot outside until it got into the mid-to-high 80’s, and people didn’t really complain until it was in the 90’s. I mean, I can still hear my father’s routine “It’s over 90, that’s too damn hot!” every summer growing up.

And this was reflected in the color gradient maps of the day; if you saw yellow or orange in the area of your city, you knew it was going to be a 90+ degree scorcher.

But now, yellow/orange starts to appear in the mid 60s!?

I mean, according to this the green-ish tinted ‘comfortable’ end of the spectrum is 63 degrees, and apparently the world is on fire at 88…

Either people have gotten soft, or someone is playing with perception.

Compare the above Apple Weather map to one from NOAA:

On this map pretty much everything between 70 and 80 is green, or perceptually comfortable, and we see the yellow/orange appear in the 90 to 100 degree range – which seems less sensational to me.

I attempted to find old temperature maps on the Internet to compare against, but wasn’t too successful – they apparently have no historic value and are scrubbed from reality pretty quick. And most sites that offer historic data tend to generate maps using old data versus having old images – so that didn’t work either.

So, my personal jury is still out on this – but it certainly seems like there’s some marketing going on when it comes to the weather… Just like everything else I suppose.

Listening to "No Way Out" by Jefferson Starship