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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: normal

In statistics the word normal refers to a normal distribution, which is also called a bell curve because it looks like a bell. The distribution is symmetrical around its mean (average), unless it is skewed.

Normal distributions are found all over in nature. Any variable whose value results from the interaction of many causes tends to vary around a normal distribution. For example, human height is affected by many factors both genetic and environmental, and a distribution of human heights typically fits a bell shape.


Simulations use normal distributions to model many natural processes that have been experimentally determined to vary normally. For example, this simulation simulates daily values for minimum and maximum temperature from a normal distribution using daily means and standard deviations derived from 20-30 years of weather data. In essence, the daily temperature is simulated by making a simplified distribution very much like the real distribution of temperature that has occurred in the climate, and choosing a value from that distribution.

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Updated: May 4, 1998. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.