How do weather forecasters accurately measure the temperature?

Your car thermometer is unlikely to give you a true reading...

How do weather forecasters accurately measure the temperature?

Picture by: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/PA Images

With the heatwave continuing, people across the country are very much feeling the heat.

While official Met Éireann figures show the hottest areas of the country surpassing the 30 degree mark, most areas remain in the mid to high 20s temperature-wise.

However, it's very possible that you may have felt like its hotter than that - and your car thermometer may have backed your suspicion up.

Forecasters, however, are taking a different approach - they're looking to measure the air temperature, and not the direct sunlight.

Forecaster Joanna Donnelly explained how their measurement device - called a Stevenson Screen - works.

She observed: "It's a louvered box - you know the old-fashioned kitchen [doors], with a gap in between the doors. That allows the air to circulate around the thermometer.

"The thermometer is about a metre and a half above the ground. It's away from buildings and away from trees, so that the air can circulate. You're getting a true reading of the actual air temperature."

She added: "If you were to take the temperature over a car park with a black tarmacadam top, you're going to get a higher temperature. If you take a temperature over a shady spot beside a tree, you're going to get a lower temperature."

You can see a Stevenson Screen on the left in the photo below:

Met Éireann is today forecasting maximum temperatures of 31 or maybe 32 degrees in some inland areas and 24-28 degrees more generally.

However, depending where you are, it might well feel warmer than that.

Ms Donnelly explained: "I know we've got car thermometers showing up 35 and 36 degrees all around the country. It depends on where your spot is - if you are in a particularly hot and sunny spot, certainly it's going to feel hotter than [30 degrees]."

As the hot weather continues, a status yellow temperature warning remains in place for Ireland until tomorrow evening.