Sea-Tac temperature sensor conspiracy: Is it really that hot?

Sea-Tac Airport. (KIRO 7)

Before we rush to a low-energy celebration of the heat records, a report by meteorologist Cliff Mass found there might be an issue with the temperature sensor at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, causing the measurements to run a little high.

So we’d have all the heat but without the records.

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In his blog, Mass writes this wouldn’t be the first time a sensor has malfunctioned. He points to similar issues at the Yakima Air Terminal, as well as in Ellensburg.

But why should we care? Because, Mass says, if the sensor is outputting incorrect data we may not be breaking as many records as we think.

“And since Sea-Tac is the most cited temperatures around here, you will think it is warmer than it really is,” he writes. “You might even buy an air conditioner.”

If there truly is something wrong with the sensor, Mass says the culprit could be a broken fan.

Officials have been out to check the sensor, however, as KIRO 7 Meteorologist Nick Allard notes. Things might not be so off after all.

“The National Weather Service sent a tech out to check on it, and everything seems to be OK,” Allard said. “So it could be more a wind and topography issue that’s pushing Sea-Tac up. It could be some runway issues with all the surrounding cement. But the sensor itself, at least all the appropriate equipment, is working.”

Whatever the sensor says, it’s only a machine and can’t feel heat the way people can.