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Troublesome Weather Trends

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: In the February Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Statistician Kevin J. Coakley of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. argues that ... daily temperatures donít vary randomly. They generally tend to rise or fall steadily over periods that are longer in duration than one week. In effect, day-to-day temperatures are positively correlated. If it is warmer than average today, it is likely to be warmer than average tomorrow, so if the temperature happens to rise steadily for a while, then in any block of 7 days that you pick, the last day would be the warmest, whether the block began on a Sunday or a Thursday. Similarly, if the temperature drops steadily, the warmest day of any 7-day block would be the first day. In the light of Coakley's analysis, researchers may have to reevaluate their findings of significant weekday-versus-weekend effects and similar weekly weather trends.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Calendars/Dates/Time, Temperature, Statistics

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