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Friday, January 14, 2011

Temperature Anomalies and Graphing Data

Globally Averaged Temperature Anomaly

One statistic that is used to understand climate is the annual globally averaged temperature anomaly.  It is not the only measure of global warming; there are a great many others, but it is one that the media tend to focus on because it is a convenient way of explaining what is happening to surface temperatures as a function of time.

The data here are taken from Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (C) (Anomaly with Base: 1951-1980), which includes data from 1882-2007.  There are updated numbers available for more recent years, but I am using these data to respond to an argument made by a friend.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Partition Functions

This post is part of a series,Nonsense and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The previous post is entitled Fluctuations.

In previous posts it was shown that entropy is related to the the number of ways that a system can arrange itself subject to constraints such as constant energy.

The previous post on fluctuations showed that for very large numbers that fluctuation from the most probable distribution, are insignificant.  Most of the distribution is contained within the square root of N of the most probable result.