State College, PA Temperature Trend and Climotology Investigation

Introduction Milestones Results IT Resources


This project was developed as part of an independent study with Dr. George Young of the Penn State Meteorology Department. The course goals were formulated in response to the increasing demand for information technology expertise in the weather risk management and operational weather forecasting industries. The structure of the course was comprised of milestones, which divide the project into manageable sections of achievement. These milestones focused on the Perl, Fortran, and Excel VBA languages, as well as HTML coding. The project objective was to raise the student's programmatic understanding to a functional level that can be immediately utilized in the meteorology industry.

The chosen application of the project was an investigation of the historical temperature trends with respect to their thirty-year normal values in State College, PA. This task facilitated learning Perl's ability to match and manipulate text data with regular expressions and gather such data automatically from the web, Fortran's lightning calculating speed and derived data types, and Excel VBA's macro recording and editing, data importing, and image exporting. The results of the analysis are provided graphically below, illustrating the mean and median run length of max, min, and average temperature above and below their thirty year normals.

Project Milestones

Milestone Task Code Link
I Download the data from the weather station web page, and save it to file. WWW::Mechanize module
File creation/writing
While flow control
Regular Expressions
II Format the data to be Fortran-friendly, and parse it to an array Fortran::Format module
If/then construct
Storage to array
III Extend code to cover entire POR Date::Simple module
List control
IV Write a Fortran program to apply statistical analysis to the collected data Program: ‘tdata’
Module: ‘my_temps’
Subroutines: ‘file2array’,
V Extend the program code to do graphical output of the results. VBA in Excel


Points of Interest:
  • 1940: mean trend above normal > 6
  • 1958-'63: average mean trend above normal ~ 4
  • apparent positive trend in runs both above and below normal from 1926-1960
Points of Interest:
  • 1958-'67: above normal mean trend > 4 for 8/10 years
  • 1998: below normal mean length exceeds 7 and median is 5
  • trends of length > 4 much more frequent for runs below normal than runs above normal
Points of Interest:
  • 10 incidents of mean below normal run length > 5
  • mean above normal length never exceeds 4.6
  • clear run-length magnitude superiority in below-normal trends
  • median below-normal run lengths mostly 3

© 2009 David Cavaceci