The Presentation of Temperature Information in Television Broadcasts: What is Normal?
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In a typical weather broadcast, observed daily temperature information such as maximum and minimum temperatures are shown and compared to the daily average or “normal”. Such information, however, does not accurately describe whether or not that particular day is fairly typical for that time of year or truly an unusual occurrence. Thus it is suggested that the presentation of temperature information can be augmented with elementary statistical information in order to give a more meaningful presentation of temperature information without the need to explain the basis of such statistical information. A study of the climatological maximum and minimum temperatures over a 30-year period for Columbia, Missouri is performed in order to provide the rationale for displaying a "typical" temperature range. This information was incorporated into television weather broadcasts at KOMU TV-8, which is the campus television station and local NBC affiliate.
National Weather Digest December 2003, Volume 27, 53-58.