Graphing 365 tempeRature records

I have always loved weather. I’m also lucky enough to live in Australia where weather data for thousands of locations across the country is recorded and uploaded by the Bureau of Meteorology every day.

When thinking about living in different towns or cities, I’ve always struggled to picture what the conditions are like on the ground — particularly at different times of the year. Sure there’s snapshots of the heatwave or the morning frost, but what about between these events?

I think I’ve figured out the best way to visualise climate variables for a year round view. It involves using the R geom density_ridges.

The result looks like this (for my new home-town of Melbourne).

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These charts show all 365 data points (in the chart above for temperature) — but it’s the simplicity that I think drives the message home. The curve peaks are the most common temperature, but the outliers and the seasonal change are all still there.

The best part comes in comparing these charts to other cities. Here is the temperature chart for where I grew up on the Queensland and NSW border.

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A few things stick out when compared to Melbourne. Firstly, the entire distribution is shifted right (temperatures are a lot more moderate on the coast). Secondly, the weather is more consistent with the size of the ‘tails’ in each month tending to be shorter than in MEL.

The best part of these charts is that they can be used for any monthly variable. Rainfall, snow, sunlight hours — it’s a pretty neat way of getting the ‘vibe’ of what the weather is like in a new place.

Code for these charts is on my github here.

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