Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where Does This Winter's Temperatures Rank? Snowfall?

Rittman Snowfall on March 25th

 ...not as cold as you might think.

The last several weeks of well below normal temperatures since that one Sunday on the 12th when we
almost hit 70 has skewed our perception of the winter. This is called the "Observational Selection Bias".  This is the effect of suddenly noticing things we didn't notice that much before — but we wrongly assume that the frequency has increased.  This leads us to the RECENCY EFFECT: This is the tendency to think that more recent trends and patterns we observe (which are more recent in our minds) are a very good representation of the entire period. We perceive these biased observations as excellent predictors of what the future will bring.  

How often has someone said to you that this colder trend recently surely means that the rest of the spring will be cold?  That is the RECENCY EFFECT at work .

We averaged the high and low temperatures of each day from December 1st to March 25th for each year since 1871.  Here is the list showing where this winter ranks...surprisingly, its far down on the list of 143 winters.

The 143 year trend is all over the place...

How about snow this year?  It falls somewhere in the middle of the list...

So while we perceive this winter as so cold due to the last few week's weather, this winter sits in the middle of the list both in temperature and in snowfall.


Adelaide said...

You are the best! I really enjoy your posts! Thank you.

Adelaide said...

You are the best! I really enjoy your posts! Thank you!