Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Water, Water, Everywhere.


I think it's been a wet summer. I could be biased by the fact that I woke up to find an inland sea around my cabin yesterday (which is luckily on posts, so I avoided flooding myself), but luckily, I have the best sorts of things on my side: data. Over to the left is a graph from the Alaska Climate Research Centre, a group in UAF who strangely research climate. Amazing! Anyhow, it's a cumulative precip graph. The smooth line is the average, and the wiggly one is this year's actual. You can see our snow drought on there pretty clearly, and now our wet summer. And it dosen't even have the last few days on there - Fairbanks proper got 1.5 inches of rain last night, which is more than we get in some months. It actually hasn't been half as cold as people make it out to be, this summer - it's just been so wet that it's felt colder.

5 comments:

Arvay said...

Err... can you please explain the y-axis in your second link? Cumulative heating degree days? What's that? Thanks!

KC said...

Sure! A heating Degree Day is the amount of heating you need to do to get a theoretical room to a given temperature - 65° in this case. That's what it is in a nutshell. A better explanation can be head at (where else) wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heating_degree_day

Arvay said...

Thanks! I must confess, even after figuring out how to read it, I still find the chart a little odd. Why not just post the temperatures? And why post the cumulative? To me, you'd have to take the slope of this graph to get something meaningful to my feeble mind. :)

I guess it's a standard for some people though, huh?

KC said...

My reason is that when you post daily weather, people tend to focus on the outliers, and not no the general trend. It's hard to see the average weather when you look at things like http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/histGraphAll?day=31&year=2008&month=7&ID=PAFA&type=1&width=500

A heating degrees day chart shows how much warming or cooling was required in a period irrespective of the outliers. And the heating degrees day chart is used by a variety of people who're interested in human-y stuff, since people tend to hide indoors when the slope is steep. :p

And I didn't just post the exact average temperature for the month because I like graphs more. :) I work better with pictures. I could have just dug up the number, though.

Arvay said...

Oh, I see. So it's like posting the height of the river instead of the rainfall. :)