What is a Temperature Log?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A temperature log is a document in which information about temperatures is maintained. The log usually consists of temperature readings taken at set intervals over a given period of time. Logging is used in a number of different contexts, ranging from meteorology to fertility treatment, and there are a number of utilities available to make it very easy to set up and maintain a temperature log.

Hospitals keep logs on patients' temperatures.
Hospitals keep logs on patients' temperatures.

A typical temperature log includes space in each entry to record the temperature, the time the temperature was taken, the date, and any observations which may be relevant. The log may also include a space for a note to indicate who took a temperature measurement, and what kind of equipment was used for the reading.

Temperature logs are an important part of medical charts for patients who are ill.
Temperature logs are an important part of medical charts for patients who are ill.

While temperature logging on paper is still done in some regions of the world, a temperature log is often digital. There are some distinct advantages to logging digitally. For one thing, digital equipment can be set up to log automatically, reducing the rate of human error and streamlining the logging process. In addition, an electronic temperature log can be easily shared, transported, or transmitted, in contrast with a hard copy. Digital logs can also be fed into programs which do things like preparing charts and graphs with the data.

A woman who is trying to conceive may keep a temperature log to determine when she is the most fertile.
A woman who is trying to conceive may keep a temperature log to determine when she is the most fertile.

Weather agencies commonly keep temperature logs for a number of locations, with temperatures being taken several times a day year round. These logs are used to provide general temperature data, and for the purpose of weather forecasting. Information about temperatures can be useful for people who work outdoors, and for people like farmers and gardeners, for whom prevailing temperatures are a concern when it comes to scheduling planting.

Temperature logging is also common in scientific experiments where temperature changes are likely to be observed. The experimenter charts all observable changes, collecting data which can be used later when analyzing the experiment and exploring the experimental outcome. A temperature log can also be used as a food safety tool, with people verifying temperatures on a regular basis to confirm that food is being held in a safe range, and to demonstrate proof that someone is checking temperatures.

In the medical field, temperature logs are usually kept on hospitalized patients and patients in surgery, as changes in temperature can be indicators of health. People tracking fertility at home may opt to use temperature logging as one tool to keep track of their cycles.

A temperature log will be kept for hospitalized patients.
A temperature log will be kept for hospitalized patients.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Charred

@NathanG - You’re right. They do take readings from various places. The temperature log book should indicate the location and methodology of the temperature readings.

I don’t believe that the variety of locales poses any problems however. A scientist will usually collect data from as many different sources as possible and then try to collate the information.

He is looking for overall patterns or trends in the data. I think there is a consensus that the Earth has warmed over the past hundred years. That point itself is not in dispute.

NathanG

When they measure temperature where are the measurements taken? I ask because I had heard that you can get different readings depending on where the measurements are taken.

Satellite temperature readings can be different from ground level or even ozone level readings. I think this needs to be kept in mind when considering the implications of climate change, and why you find scientists with conflicting data.

Sometimes they take the measurements at different places and this is what causes the variances in the data. I am not a scientist myself so I can’t really say where the “correct” place to measure temperature is, but I think it’s a question worth asking personally.

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