In ozone (or any other) speak, presentation (still) matters

And now for something decidedly different.

It is all about the delivery

As for oxymoronic expressions, I can think of none better than: “old news.”

DSCN0406 (340x255)So, what does this have to do with “the price of eggs in China” – or today’s topic, in other words?

On Aug. 25, 2013, as it just so happens, I penned “Ozone speak: Presentation matters.” Although in that particular post I did not come right out and say it, when it comes to the exchange of information, it goes without saying that consistency regarding content accuracy be absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

As it relates, in that write-up, I referenced specific data (information) from a San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District “Healthy Air Living” document titled: “Item #7: Update on Ozone Air Quality Progress and Air Alert Initiative.” The specified date on that document, by the way, is Aug. 15, 2013.

Now please keep in mind that in this original “Ozone speak: Presentation matters” blog post, one takeaway was: “As for the ‘Healthy Air Living’ report overall, I feel it would have been much more helpful and useful to provide greater explanation as in defining ‘Ozone Design Value Trend,’ for example.” Hopefully, my criticism here was deemed constructive.

Well, as it turns out, in another air district document – this time in “1-hour (and 8-hour) recent ozone trends” – on page 3 (of 3 pages) there is a graph headed with the title: “Significant Progress on 8-hour Standard.” There, unfortunately, is disagreement here regarding plot data.

As it stands, plotted on the vertical axis on the left side is “Hours over Standard” with the four numbers 0, 50, 100 and 150 ascending from bottom to top with 150 being the topmost number, while plotted on the horizontal axis is a timeline with years 1996, 2012 and 2013 shown. The referenced standards (1997 and 2008) and their corresponding parts per billion (ppb) numbers (75 and 84) don’t jibe.

Cases in point: the red plot is designated as the “1997 Standard (75 ppb)” while the blue plot is designated as the “2008 Standard (84 ppb),” when, in fact, 75 ppb is indicative of the 2008 standard and 84 ppb is indicative of the 1997 standard.

Now, compare that to the reference below from the original “Ozone speak: Presentation matters” post:

“Related to the page 2 report info., meanwhile, on the following page is the ‘Decreasing Ozone Trends’ table. On the horizontal axis are yearly dates from 2003 to 2012 (2003 on the left and 2012 on the right) and on the vertical axis is ‘ppb’ with the numbers 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120 ascending from bottom to top with 120 the topmost number. Situated between 70 and 80 is a horizontal red dashed line representing the 2008 Standard of 75 ppb and situated between 80 and 90 is a horizontal blue dashed line representing the 1997 Standard of 84 ppb which is less stringent or protective of public health than the 2008 standard. A solid blue line is plotted toward the top with 2003’s reading being around 115 (ppb ozone) and 2012’s reading at somewhere around 97 or 98 (ppb ozone). What this has to do with is the ‘San Joaquin Valley 8-hour Ozone Design Value Trend.’”

The contradiction is quite apparent although I would think the error was inadvertent. Even so, I feel the viewer viewing this information is at a tremendous loss particularly if such information is interpreted as being valid.

Today’s takeaway? Contradictory or inaccurate, not all is bad news? Nope. Not it. Here’s a hint: Whether new or old, happy or sad or whatever, it is important information be presented well.

For what it is worth, I do my best to see to it information that I present or re-report on is just that.

– Alan Kandel

This post was last revised on Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:32 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.