Colorado's '300 days of sun' claim dates back to 1870s

FORT COLLINS – The claim that Colorado boasts 300 days of sunshine dates back to a newspaper article from the 1870s, according to a state climatologist.

The article, written by a public relations specialist for the railroad, was published in a paper in New York. At the time, the railroads were trying to tempt people from the East to move out to the West.

"It was good PR, and it still is good PR," said Nolan Doesken, a state climatologist at Colorado State University. "I think the public relations side of it exceeds its value."

In his more than 30 years in Colorado, Doesken has been investigating the claim.

"Anytime I talk to anyone, like at the chamber of commerce, they'll always pull out the brochure and say, '300 days of sunshine,' and I'll say, 'where did you get that?' And they'll say, 'well, the last brochure.'"

9News Meteorologist Marty Coniglio pointed out earlier this year that Denver doesn't really see 300 days of sunshine every year.

"We actually only have 250 days with sun and only 115 sunny days," Coniglio said.

Doesken has studied sunlight in the state and says to get to the 300 number, you'd have to count days which the sun only shines 50 minutes of the day. And even that might be a stretch.

"It's a little bit of an exaggeration… but is it sunnier here than other parts of the country? Oh yeah," he said.

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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