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Using Microsoft Excel to Visualize Climate Data. “Data Mining” Computers have allowed scientists to collect, save, and share vast amounts of data. New.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Microsoft Excel to Visualize Climate Data. “Data Mining” Computers have allowed scientists to collect, save, and share vast amounts of data. New."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Microsoft Excel to Visualize Climate Data

2 “Data Mining” Computers have allowed scientists to collect, save, and share vast amounts of data. New fields such as “data mining” and “bioinformatics” use data collected by other scientists to conduct research and find patterns.

3 Communicating information with graphs Mean Backgroun d Site 2 Mean Backgroun d Site 3 Mean Backgroun d Site 4 Mean Backgroun d Site 5 Average Backgroun dBlack PointMax Average Max White Point A small dataset A graph representing the averages of the values that the scientist wants you to know about Which is easier to understand?

4 Today we will use some publicly available data about weather and climate Sources for Climate Data: Climate Reanalyzer cci- reanalyzer.org (includes many public datasets) Rutgers University Global Snow Lab Global Historical Climate Network U.S. Historical Climatology Network Goddard Institute for Space Studies Scripps CO 2 Program …and many more!

5 Today we will use some publicly available data about weather and climate One example of a very complex data visualization. Data can be beautiful, too!

6 But there is public data for many different topics, and even online tools to help you explore Topics Infectious Disease Outbreaks World Economies Broadband performance Life Expectancy Standardized Test Performance Tools Google Public Data Explorer NorthWest Public Health Observatory National Center for Education Statistics

7 “47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.” -Steven Wright

8 Graphs in the media: People will use graphs to mislead you These plots show the exact same information, what makes them appear different? Do you come away with the same impression from both graphs? Why or why not?

9 People will use graphs to mislead you These plots show the exact same information, what makes them appear different? Do you come away with the same impression from both graphs? Why or why not?

10 Visual effects can be misleading These plots show the exact same information, what makes them appear different? Do you come away with the same impression from both graphs? Why or why not?

11 Being a “savvy consumer” of data: Questions to ask of graphs you see in daily life Who is telling me this? Could they benefit from me interpreting the data a certain way? Where did the numbers come from? – Often companies will pay for research studies. These researchers may be pressured to produce data that is good for the company’s “bottom line.” Did they use an appropriate graph to display the data? – Is there information they are leaving out by not using the appropriate graph? – Is there other information they aren’t telling you?

12 Visual effects can be misleading It can be tempting to use “cool” visual effects in your graphs, but often these impair the readers’ ability to understand the plot.

13 People have difficulty distinguishing and remembering >8 colors in one graph. The colors in this graph do not actually mean anything about the data. In trying to make the graph colorful, the creator has caused confusion. This can also be misleading if people attempt to attach meaning to the different colors.


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