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Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

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3.1 Climate dice

You have seen that, the more data you gather, the better your estimate of the relative frequency of each number and the more certain you can be of the answer. If you rolled the two dice 100 000 times in Activity 2, you would have very good estimates of the shape of the two distributions. Your uncertainty about which die was loaded would be small.

In the same way, scientists use as much weather data as possible to make their estimate of climate as robust as it can be. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommends that the minimum period of data collection needed to measure climate is 30 years (WMO, n.d.).

  • How is detecting climate change like trying to find the loaded die?

  • It is similar because it is detecting the difference between two distributions.

This figure shows two dice. Three faces on each can be see and each shows a different weather symbol. The six symbols are: A white cloud, a black cloud with raindrops, a full sun, a black cloud with snow, a black cloud with a lightning bolt and a white cloud with sunshine.
Figure 7 Weather dice

So we can say that detecting climate change is the science of ‘detecting the difference between two distributions’.