In late 2002, I remarked on the interesting fact that the high temperature is always 87 degrees F in Palau. Unable to contain my curiousity, I sent a note to the National Weather Service station in Guam that is responsible for Palau forecasts, and received the following very helpful reply:
The Nation of Palau is made up of several islands. Most are small. When the wind is blowing, the temperature of these islands is largely influenced by the temperature of the ocean. The ocean temperature only changes significantly over a period of months. Around Palau, even these changes are small. If winds are very light, the islands will get warmer in the day and cooler at night, provided they aren’t very cloudy. The weather station is on one of these small islands. There is a larger island, Babelthab, which does get warmer in the daytime, but there are no temperature observations available from there.
One of lesser known secrets of the Internet is that you can almost always find a helpful public servant to provide you with an answer to whatever questions strikes you.
NOAA — and indeed the U.S. federal government in general — has a very helpful and liberal policy towards the release of public information to, well, the public. As an example, the Weather History page at the website of The Old Farmer’s Almanac is driven by NOAA’s free, web-available weather history data.
Interestingly, the data from NOAA includes Canadian locations, but the same data is not available, or at least freely available from our own government.
Americans, it seems, take the “we the people paid for this information, so we have the right to use it” credo seriously. Here in Canada we’re caught up in the notion that The Queen should own everything Government produces.