We can’t thrive (65)

This minor statistical factoid was stuffed into one of those staggeringly popular OMGWTFBBQWAGD weather articles:

The natural gas-weight heating degree days value for January is expected to reach 1,062.9, higher than the five-year average of 949.5 and the coldest since 2001.

Um, say what?

The value is determined by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting number is a measure of how cold it is and how much energy is needed to keep homes and warm.

There are also cooling degree days, derived in almost the same manner, which will explain why you spent so much for air conditioning in July.

I just wonder where that 1062.9 figure comes from. Is it a national average? Because the January average in Oklahoma City is 798, and we have 651 through yesterday.

(I’ve attempted to explain this before, with arguable results.)


  1. Jess »

    26 January 2014 · 2:25 pm

    I wonder how many stations were used for the calculation, if Alaska was included and if it’s just one of those statistics made up on the spot.

  2. CGHill »

    26 January 2014 · 2:33 pm

    Of late, Alaska has often been warmer than the eastern portion of the Lower 48.

    I gathered my local information from NWS Norman; it’s based on a single station.

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