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9 - Comet
9 - Comet

The Story


I am writing this on Monday, Feb 27, 2023. Just last week, many people were shocked and surprised by the weather across the United States. By Thursday, Feb 23, it was heavily snowing across California with blizzard warnings as far south as Los Angeles, it was hot in the southeastern states (83°F where I live in Knoxville, TN), and there was more than a 100 °F range in temperatures across the United States (US).



Source: The Washington Post


I was not shocked or surprised by the weather last week. More than two years ago, I predicted statistically significant temperature changes over large geographical areas for each day of the previous week. I predicted significant cooling in the western, northern, and midwestern US; in the southeast, I predicted substantial heating by late in the week.



Record cold for 2/23/23. Source: The Washington Post



Record warmth for 2/23/23. Source: The Washington Post



Predictions from Alteryx 2 years ago for the same week in February. Source: Datablends


Those predictions from two years ago may sound crazy because it is generally impossible to forecast temperatures accurately more than ten days in advance. However, I am telling the truth; the results I have published over the past nine years are my proof.


For the past nine years, Alteryx has taken me on an unplanned scientific journey full of beautiful surprises, discoveries, and incredible insights about global warming. When I first unleashed Alteryx on more than 200 years of weather data, I had no idea of the impact this action would have on my life.



The batch macro I developed for processing daily climate data at the beginning of my project. Source: Datablends


At the beginning of my journey, I had a belief that if global warming were real, quantifying it would be difficult, if not impossible! I suspected this because I had spent nearly 30 years performing numerical simulations involving the fickle Mother Nature. I simulated groundwater and contaminant movement to assist in many environmental remediation projects.


I learned much about the difficulty of making long-term predictions of natural systems having non-linear characteristics, sensitivity to initial conditions, and four-dimensional variations in material properties. In other words, I suspected that my attempts to understand and quantify global warming would likely lead to failure.


However, there is a funny thing about people born with scientific curiosity, a quantitative mind, and an unwavering work ethic. Sometimes these people take chances that others are not willing to take. I am one of those people who is sometimes too stubborn to quit.


Suppose you give this type of person a software system such as Alteryx to help them explore their ideas. I have witnessed and experienced that they will either succeed or prove their initial thoughts were wrong. In this case of quantifying global warming, I did both!


The Impact


Much to my surprise, I learned that it is possible to quantify the spatial and temporal temperature changes that have occurred during this multi-decade period of global warming! I determined this by instructing Alteryx to make trillions of calculations to satisfy my curiosity. Alteryx empowered me to discover temperature change patterns that have been successfully quantified and visualized in countries worldwide.


Looking back on this unexpected journey, I have learned that global warming is real. I have learned to understand its intricacies, progressions, and characteristics. I can now make long-term temperature predictions that are more accurate than those made with AI/ML models.



Presentation from Inspire 2019 (Source).


Finally, this work has allowed me to explain this scientific odyssey at the 2017, 2019, and 2022 Alteryx Inspire conferences. Those conference experiences have extraordinarily fulfilled my life. The audience responses I received after each presentation gave me the fuel to continue my exploration. This is only one example of how Alteryx has improved my life.




         Alteryx empowered me to discover temperature change patterns that have been successfully quantified and visualized in countries worldwide.   



This is the third article in a new series on the Alter.Nation blog--Alteryx Impact Stories. If Alteryx has been a game-changer for you, pitch us your story! You can fill out the submission form here


20 - Arcturus
20 - Arcturus

Can't wait to see you in Vegas and catch-up.  Should I bring my winter coat?