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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published May 05 2014

Weather Talk: ‘Average’ always changing when it comes to weather

All this talk about below-average temperatures this spring (and winter) calls for a discussion on what it means to be average.

There is nothing normal about average. Not in weather, anyway. The weather is not “supposed” to be average or even near average. The weather goes from above to below average all the time, and sometimes by a lot.

What we call average is always changing. Our weather and our climate are not static. It gets colder and it gets warmer. It gets wetter and it gets drier. These things vary day by day, month by month, year by year, century by century and so on.

The accepted, so-called “climate normals” are actually the average of the previous complete three decades. Every 10 years, what we call “normal” or “average” is adjusted to reflect the latest decade in order to remain current.

For seven months, our temperatures have been below average. But there is absolutely nothing that will force the next seven months above average in order to even this out. It just does not work that way.


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