Researchers show impact eclipse had in Oklahoma

The moon crossing in front of the sun in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Robert Coggins/ NOAA)

Those witnessing the solar eclipse on Monday may have noticed a drop in temperature while outside. But just how much did the temperature change in Oklahoma, where most of the state experienced about 85 percent of the eclipse.

Researchers with The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and the ARM Climate Research Facility Data Quality Office wanted to find out.

On Monday, multiple radiometers at the ARM Southern Great Plains site in Northern Oklahoma measured a significant decrease in solar radiation during the eclipse as expected. This decrease in sunlight was first observed in the data by Bryan Sheridan, an OU CIMMS undergraduate research assistant and School of Meteorology undergraduate. The decrease in sunlight resulted in a period of cooling resulting in an overall change of one to two degrees celsius recorded at all Oklahoma ARM facilities.

Data from the radiometers were compared to the ARM Surface Meteorology Systems, which uses sensors to obtain one-minute statistics of surface wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure. These systems revealed a dip in temperature corresponding to the loss in radiation.

“These data were not a surprise, but it is very interesting to see the actual effects the eclipse had on the local weather as it progressed,” said Adam Theisen, researcher with OU CIMMS and the ARM Data Quality Office. “You can see the drop in radiation and then see the corresponding decrease in temperature occurring.”

Data from the ARM Southern Great Plains site in Northern Oklahoma during the eclipse on Monday.