WeatherTalk: Weather is rarely average

There is nothing "normal" about "average."

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FARGO - All this talk about below average temperatures this spring (and winter) begs a discussion on what it means to be average. First of all, there is nothing normal about average. The very word, "normal," is a reference to statistical normalization and has nothing to do with normality. The weather is not “supposed” to be average or even near average.

Weather goes from above to below average all the time and sometimes by a lot. In fact, what we call average is always changing. Our weather and our climate are not static. Over time, our weather gets colder and warmer and wetter and drier. These things vary day by day, month by month, year by year, century by century, and so on. In fact, the accepted, so-called “climate normals” are actually the average of the previous complete three decades. Every ten years, what call “normal” or “average” is adjusted to reflect the latest decade in order to remain current.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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