The Laws of Averages: Part 1, Fruit Salad

Watts Up With That?

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen


This essay is long-ish — and is best saved for a time when you have time to read it in its entirety.  It will be worth the wait and the eventual effort.  It comes in three sections:  a Primer on Averages, a general discussion of Fruit Salad metrics, and a more in-depth discussion of an example using a published study.

NB:  While this essay is using as an example a fairly recent study by Catherine M. O’Reilly, Sapna Sharma, Derek K. Gray, and Stephanie E. Hampton, titled “Rapid and highly variable warming of lake surface waters around the globe”  [ .pdf here; poster here, AGU Meeting video presentation here ], it is not meant to be a critique of the paper itself — I will leave that to others with a more direct interest.  My interest is in the logical and scientific…

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