Hi, I would like to ask anyone available a quick question. How would I explain WHY it is that the data/function of average monthly temperatures for a location are a sinusoidal function? I am having trouble phrasing and explaining it, although I am aware that it is in fact sinusoidal and that it forms a wave-like graph. Would I just use that as an explanation?

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  1. If you measure the temperatures and plot them, the curve is sinusoidal.

    This is mainly because the earth is a sphere rotating in space, relative to the sun. As the sunlight hits the surface, it causes the temperatures to rise, but then the earth turns away, and they fall again. It is this circular motion that causes the sinusoidal fluctuation.

    Plotting the temperature is basically the same as plotting the position of a point on a rotating circle. As the position gets nearer to being in line with the sun, the temperature rises.

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    posted by Steve
  2. Thank you, your help is greatly appreciated.

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