weathernomics

I was obviously a little bored, uninspired and freezing this morning. So, I took 10 minutes to do up these graphs.

They are pretty much self explanatory. The data series I’ve access to online goes all the way back to sometime in late October 2008. Given how cold it was over the weekend (hitting around -7 °C for the last two consecutive days), I wanted to see if this was the coldest for some time. Given the limitations in data, I could only plot the Autumn/Winter periods of 2009 to 2011 (ongoing). But, so far, it’s pretty obvious that -7 °C is the coldest we had since 2009, and am actually pretty sure it’s since 2008 too.

 

It makes things clearer if we just put the temperatures of 2010 and 2011 together. We bottomed out at -5.0°C on 28 June 2010. This year, we are already seeing -7°C over 14 to 15 May 2011. There really isn’t much I can say about causation, or correlation over here.

That said, there are of course a few possibilities:

1) We had a really mild summer (plotted the maximum temperatures over summer as well), compared to last year. So, we didn’t have the gradual easing into winter this year. Hence, we might just bottom out of Winter really soon this year, instead of waiting till October.

2) We are going to have a bitterly cold Winter just like the other countries because of the really mild Summer we have.

 

Whatever it is, I sure hope it’s possibility no.1 that we are experiencing here. I don’t fancy cold freezing winters with no snow at all. I might reconsider if you tell me it’s going to snow this year. Besides, I’m so going to ask the next person who asks me to quit complaining about the Australian weather to shut up as well. Come to Canberra, and you will get it. You don’t get the same temperature here like in other states/cities, just because we are inland.

Then again, it did snow in the suburbs of Canberra in 2008. According to myth and Canberrans, snow falls in the city every three years. It’s about time? I really want to know the temperatures in 2008! It could well be much colder in 2008. But, I’m not crazy enough to be paying the Bureau of Meteorology some money to get time series data.

Comments from fellow Canberrans found in this post I posted here.

 

research philosophy

A few of the profs/lecturers and us (PhD students) were chatting over morning tea farewell. So, there was this part of the conversation that I thought I should jot down, something I should always remind myself of. It isn’t rocket science.

We were chatting about how some papers published in AER or other journals are so simple but yet not trivial. It’s indeed true. One prof mentioned that it takes some natural talent, and the ability to identify the trade offs with the simplest assumptions.

So true indeed. Some of the most significant economics concepts/models are based on very simple assumptions, yet doesn’t appear trivial. I agree with the need for careful mathematical modelling, but certainly not a whole paper filled with proofs on things that no one understands. And, certainly, there shouldn’t be casual empiricism. Anything done empirically should be backed up with some form of theory in the simplest form, even if it is almost certainly a pure empirical issue.