Where Does This Winter’s Temperatures Rank? Snowfall?

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…not as cold as you might think.

The last several weeks of well below normal temperatures since that one Sunday on the 12th when we almost hit 70 has skewed our perception of the winter. This is called the “Observational Selection Bias“.  This is the effect of suddenly noticing things we didn’t notice that much before — but we wrongly assume that the frequency has increased.  This leads us to the RECENCY EFFECT: This is the tendency to think that more recent trends and patterns we observe (which are more recent in our minds) are a very good representation of the entire period. We perceive these biased observations as excellent predictors of what the future will bring.

How often has someone said to you that this colder trend recently surely means that the rest of the spring will be cold?  That is the RECENCY EFFECT at work. I have more of these biases on SCOTT’S WORLD OF WEATHER. Head over and do a search for PSYCHOLOGY

We averaged the high and low temperatures of each day from December 1st to March 25th for each year since 1871.  Here is the list showing where this winter ranks…surprisingly, its far down on the list of 143 winters.

temps_listThe 143 year trend is all over the place…

dec1_to_march24_temps_CLEHow about snow this year?  It falls somewhere in the middle of the list…

snowlistSo while we perceive this winter as so cold due to the last few week’s weather, this winter sits in the middle of the list both in temperature and in snowfall.