Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More "Summer Days in the 70s" Fun

When we think of June and July weather in northern Ohio, high humidity and temperatures in the 80s and 90s are at the top of the list. Cooler summer weather like what we are experiencing now tends to mess with our perceptions of summers past.  Consecutive days in the 70s in late July/early August become very uneasy to swallow.

Weather extremes evoke a very powerful cognitive bias we all have called hard wired into our DNA the "RECENCY EFFECT". This effect gives higher importance to events that have occurred more recently and lesser weight to events further back in time.  The last three summers (2012, 2011 and 2010) have all featured some record heat. These memories are more recent in our minds so we give them more credence than a distant memory of a summer in, say the early 1990s or early 2000s.

Viewer Facebook comments all illustrate this bias perfectly.  Most comment that this summer is so unusual. Most say that don't remember a summer like this in a long time. Yet summers like this one have occurred more often than most of us (myself included) realize. Best of all, we don't have to go that far back in time to find them.

Below is a chart that summarizes ALL of the summers (JUNE and JULY) over the last 30 summers COOLER than this summer. I only averaged the HIGH TEMPERATURES as most of us really don't remember nighttime lows. I listed each year from WARMEST to COOLEST. 


 I'm a stat guy so there is a lot of numbers here. The points that stand out are as follows: 

*  19 OF THE LAST 30 SUMMERS HAVE BEEN JUST AS "COOL" OR COOLER THAN THIS SUMMER. (SEE MY LAST POST)

*   7 SUMMERS (DAYTIME TEMPS) SINCE 2000 (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009) HAVE BEEN "COOLER" THAN 2013

THE MAJORITY OF THESE "COOLER" SUMMERS HAD MORE DAYS IN THE 60s AND 70s THAN THIS SUMMER

* MOST OF THE "COOLER" SUMMERS SINCE 2000 ALL HAD STRETCHES OF "70 DEGREE TEMPS IN JULY" COMPARABLE TO THIS SUMMER

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The moral of the story is we all perceive this summer to be so earth-shatteringly COOL.  Yet even some of our more recent summers contrary to what our memories tell us have been just as cool.






2 comments:

stella cotton said...

We do seem to forget those cooler summers. Now that you brought it up I have pics of us at a racetrack in coats in July LOL as long as no snow =) Thanks for sharing

Tracey Canale said...

Great post! I was wondering about this, remembering that 2009 was a very cool summer as well. I guess people love to complain about the weather but I do dislike hearing about how it's not "hot enough" now. It's actually quite comfortable - how nice it would be to have all summers like this one.