I’m relatively new to Birmingham, Alabama. I was nervous about moving to a place with famously long hot humid summers. My intuition since moving here is that there are many days throughout the year when, at some point in the day, the weather is nice for doing something outside with my kids.
Yesterday, Sunday, was very nice. To have such a nice warm sunny day in mid-December is strange to me. I grew up further north where Decembers are chilly. Here is a picture of a neighbor’s son enjoying the summer-like feel of this technically-winter day. This picture was taken at noon.
Although I am grateful for this particular day, I also think about the hot summer days when noon is a time to hide indoors with air conditioning. Is it nice here? How can that question be answered scientifically?
There is actually a great map of answers, available on several websites, credited to Brian Brettschneider, thanks to data from Iowa State.
This map confirmed my intuition. My old life in New Jersey was in the dark green zone, and my new life in Alabama is one level better, in terms of how many “nice” days you can expect in a year.
If you don’t have climate control, then you might be more worried about weather extremes. If you are lucky enough to have a regulated indoor environment, then a nice place to live is largely a question of how many days you get when it’s nice to “go out”.
This map accounts for “nice days”. I wonder if New Jersey would seem closer to Alabama if the measure changed to “nice daylight hours”. Yesterday was beautiful, but it was dark by 5pm. When I get time, I’m going to make a map of where in the lower 48 you can enjoy dinner outside after work many times per year (and why is it Southern California?).
In one work assignment, I had to fly into Silicon Valley nearly every month for over a year. It seemed that the weather was ALWAYS delightful — blue skies, not too hot or cold. Interesting to see this confirmed.