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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - Record Arctic sea ice minimum extent .... again

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Some information on the variations in measurements:

http://alignment.hep.brandeis.edu/Lab/Measurement.html

Resolution
The resolution of a measurement is how well it can distinguish between two values of the measured physical quantity. The precision of our MRT is 1.4°C. If one end of the table is 0.1°C warmer than the other, the probability of our MRT being right when it says which end is warmer will be close to 50%, because our stochastic error is much larger than the difference we are trying to observe.

When a stochastic error is gaussian, which is most of the time, there is a 68% chance that the magnitude of the error will be less than one standard deviation of the distribution. If we measure the temperature at both ends of our table, and the far end measurement is one standard deviation higher than the near end, it is 68% likely that the MRT measurement of the far end will be higher than the MRT measurement of the near end. In other words, it's 68% likely that our MRT will be correct in telling us which end is warmer, provided that the warmer end is one standard deviation warmer than the other end.

That's how we arrive at our definition of resolution. The resolution of a measurement is the amount by which the measured quantity must change for it to be 68% likely that our measurement will be correct in saying whether the change was up or down.

Because almost all stochastic errors are gaussian, the resolution of a measurement is almost always equal to its precision.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19330307

Scientists at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center said data showed that the sea ice extent was tracking below the previous record low, set in 2007.

Latest figures show that on 13 August ice extent was 483,000 sq km (186,000 sq miles) below the previous record low for the same date five years ago.

The ice is expected to continue melting until mid- to late September.

"A new daily record... would be likely by the end of August," the centre's lead scientist, Ted Scambos, told Reuters
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