Box and whisker plots for local climate datasets interpretation and creation using Excel 2007/2010
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Box and whisker plots for local climate datasets interpretation and creation using Excel 2007/2010

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  • Description:
    "This paper describes the creation and use of box and whisker plots in the statistical analysis of local climate and other hydrometeorological datasets. Box and whisker plots offer a pictorial summary of important dataset characteristics including the central tendency, dispersion, asymmetry, and extremes, arrived at through percentile rank analysis and the plotting of maximum and minimum dataset values. Since box and whisker plots display measures of central tendency and spread free from the assumption of a normal distribution, they provide an effective way of identifying asymmetrical attributes in meteorological datasets. Additionally, the underlying statistics are more resistant toward individual outliers than other methods, such as mean and standard deviation. Common measures of variability, such as standard deviation, may be interpreted based upon an assumption of an underlying standard normal distribution for climate and weather analysis purposes, and might also prove too abstract for non-technical users of climate data. Lastly, the graphically compact nature of box and whisker plots facilitates side-by-side comparison of multiple datasets, which can otherwise be difficult to interpret using more complete representations, such as the histogram. A box and whisker plotting convention geared for meteorological applications is described herein, with examples shown using climate data from the WFO Burlington, Vermont forecast area. The appendix includes instructions for creating the box and whisker plot format advocated in this paper, and a sample template is also available for download"--Abstract.
  • Content Notes:
    Peter C. Banacos. "January, 2011." Mode of access: World Wide Web. System requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader. Includes bibliographical references (p. 6-7).
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    Public Domain
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