Problems with the Current Definitions of the Standard Deviation of Wind Direction

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  • 1 CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Statistics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627
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Abstract

Much of the ongoing debate about how to define the standard deviation of wind direction can be attributed to the widespread implementation of a faulty method of defining it in wind-measuring instrumentation in the previous decade. In this paper, the basis of the debate is explained, and the suggestion made that the standard deviation be defined in such a way that it has a useful interpretation. A number of situations are described in which the notion of a circular standard deviation is not appropriate.

Abstract

Much of the ongoing debate about how to define the standard deviation of wind direction can be attributed to the widespread implementation of a faulty method of defining it in wind-measuring instrumentation in the previous decade. In this paper, the basis of the debate is explained, and the suggestion made that the standard deviation be defined in such a way that it has a useful interpretation. A number of situations are described in which the notion of a circular standard deviation is not appropriate.

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