Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Geography and Climate >> Article - Averaging periods in climate

AVERAGING PERIODS IN CLIMATE

The appropriate averaging period to use for climate data has long been an area of discussion, as the dual needs of having sufficient data for a stable average while being reasonably current in a changing climate are taken into account. The issue is complicated by the fact that climate averages effectively serve two purposes - one as an implicit prediction of the most likely conditions to occur in a location in the near future, the other as a benchmark against which current (or past) conditions are referenced.

The World Meteorological Organization currently defines the ‘standard normal’ period as covering the 30 years from 1961 to 1990. While the warming trend globally means that 1961-90 averages for temperature are no longer representative of the most likely values to be experienced in 2007, they still provide a suitable reference benchmark, and are used as the base for the Australian temperature data set (table 1.5).

Averages for shorter, or more recent, periods are useful in monitoring current conditions, or in allowing averages to be calculated at stations which do not have data available for the full 1961-90 period. Table 1.7 uses 1971-2000 averages for this reason.

Previous PageNext Page


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.