Carleton College Weather
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  Graphing Tutorial
 
The weather is a fascinating subject and arguably the best way to gain an understanding of ever chnaging weather patterns is through a graphical medium, such as a graph. That's why this tutorial has been created to enable the end user to use the Carleton College Weather Database to it's fullest potential.
 
This tutorial will guide you through the step by step process of creating a graph and it will also explain all of the available graphing features of this web site to facilitate you in creating many varied and informative graphs. In the end you shall be able to utilize the Carleton College Weather Database to it's fullest potential and then you to can marvel at the intricate complexity of nature. Hopefully we can also gain a better understanding of our environment in the process. Let's get started!
 
Example Graph
 
1.  First we need to decide whether we are going to make a graph from the Daily Data or the Raw Data. The Daily Data contains information about weather that is calculated at the end of each day, such as the high and low temperatures for a given day. The Raw Data contains all the data we take so you can use this to see what the actual conditions for a day were on an hourly basis. You can change between the Daily Data and the Raw Data by clicking the tabs. I like Daily Data so we'll just make a daily graph.
Raw Data Tab
Raw Data Tab
 
Raw Data Tab
Daily Data Tab
 
2.  Next we need to decide the amount of time we would like to see data for. You can see that the Raw and Daily Data sections have different options for time.
 
Raw Data Time
Example Raw Data Time Selector

 
From: Year Month Day
To:     Year Month Day
Example Daily Data Time Selector (Click to change date)
 
The Daily Data is not hourly so there is no hour option in the Daily Data section. For this example graph I'll choose to graph Daily Data from July 15th,2000 to July 15th,2001, one year's worth of data. To do this we set the From: Year field to 2000 and the To: Year field to 2001. We set both month fields to July and we set both day fields to 15. Try clicking the fields and experimenting with them. Change the dates even if you like.
 
Note:  Because of the nature of the Daily and Raw Data, there are many more data points in the Raw Data Database then in the Daily Data database. Because of this, we do not allow the amount of time graphed for the Raw Data to be more then a few weeks. However, one can easily graph many years of the Daily Data.
 
High Temperature
Low Temperature
Average Temperature
High Barometric Pressure
Low Barometric Pressure
Peak Wind Gust
Rainfall                                
High Relative Humidity
Low Relative Humidity
Data Type Selection (Click to check and uncheck the boxes)
3.  Now we need to choose what type of data we would like to graph. We can choose up to two types of data by clicking the checkboxes shown at right. I'll choose to graph high temperature and low temperature. If we had done a Raw Data graph the choices of data would be different. Also, if we check more than two types, we will get a graph of our first two choices from the top down. Try checking and unchecking some of the boxes.
 
4.  Next we need to choose what type of graph we want to make. You can see the choices listed below. For our graph we wil make a range plot because it makes sense and is informative for our choices of data: high temperature and low temperature. If you are only graphing one type of data you will get a line plot by default if you choose a range plot. The only difference in the available plot types between the Daily Data and the RawData is that the range plot is not available for Raw Data. Try clicking the Plot Selector and change the plot type if you wish.
 
Available Plot Types (Click to see the choices) Plot Button (Click to plot your graph)
 
5.  Now all we need to do is press the plot button shown above and our graph will be made. That's all there is to graphing. Hopefully you can make your own intruiging and informative graphs now.
 
Features of Your Graph
 
  Legends
 
  •  
  • At the top of your graph you will see a black box, inside of which will appear the data types you have chosen to graph and the start and end dates of your graph.
     
    Top of Graph
    Example Top of Graph Legend
     
  •  
  • Under the black box will be a legend listing the two data types and the colors of their lines if you've done a line plot.
     
    Top of Graph
    Example Types Legend
     
      Y-axis
     
    Left Y-axis
    Example Left Y-axis
  •   
  • On the left side of your graph you will find the scale and units if the graph, and the type of data being graphed. If you've graphed two types of data that can't be graphed on the same scale then you will find another axis on the right side of your graph. We can see that this scale is color coded to match the color of the second type of data, in this case humidity.
    Right Y-axis
    Example Right Y-axis
     
      X-axis
     
  •   
  • The top and bottom of your graph will be labeled with time scales. The top of the graph will have a time scale that is greater than the bottom so there will be less markers. If you graph enough time you will see little black ticks on the top and bottom of your graph (these show up in daily graphs). These will signify either the breaks betweeen months or between years.
    Tick Marks
    Example Tick Marks
     

     
    Now that you can make graphs and understand them you should be well on your way to making all sorts of interesting weather graphs.