I've been playing with a lot of temperature data lately: you can see a short Python analysis of temperatures over at my personal blog. At work (at the University of Minnesota) I'm working with some masters' students on research into the finance of weather derivatives and catastrophe bonds, so I've been thinking a lot about temperature, El Niño, snow in Siberia, etc...! I've also been thinking about how to teach probability and statistics.

So, this post is about using the normal distribution and spreadsheets to deal with real data! November has been very warm, even though I picked the coldest days to go winter camping. How warm is our November here in Minneapolis-St. Paul?

Here is a Google spreadsheet with the minimum and maximum temperatures for every November 8 since 1970:

Google spreadsheet: max, min temps, with precipitation and graphs, Nov. 8

Included are histograms of max and min temperatures, and a scatter plot of max and min against each other. Continue reading