Monday, December 03, 2012

Are December Highs in the 50s and 60s Happening More in Cleveland?

The 8day forecast has been calling for a few strong surges of warm air followed by strong cold fronts over the last 2 weeks. While we ignore the colder intrusions, we relish and remember more vividly the unseasonable temperatures. After all taking your jacket off in December is more memorable than shoveling a few inches of snow.



It is these type of extremes that brings out the Recency Effect in all of its glory. I wrote a post on Facebook last week on this effect. Here is what I said:

"...We succumb to the cognitive bias called the "recency effect". That is, we the tendency to weigh recent events (warmer temps in December) more important than earlier or past events because they are more fresh in our minds."
Are these 50 and 60 degree high temperatures for early December all that unusual? I dug through ALL of the high temperature records for early December since 1912 and plotted what I found in 20 year increments. (Each year would have been a mess!) The first chart is the number of days with highs in the 50s and 60s for the FIRST week of December. The second chart is the number of days with highs in the 50s and 60s for the SECOND week of December.

Notice that the 50 degree trend has varied much. The 60 degree trend is up a bit but not by much.

Days in the 50s and 60s from DEC1st thru 7th          


This second chart shows the second week of December. It stands to reason the number of days would be smaller especially SINCE 1992! In fact, we haven't have a daytime high above 60 AFTER DECEMBER 8TH in over 20 years!

Are 50s and 60 degree high temperatures in early December all that unusual, The quick answer is...NOT REALLY. If I have a chance tomorrow, I will try to plot the number of days for each year. It'll be messy...

1 comment:

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