You might live in an area with an average yearly temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Your friend might live in another part of the country or world with an average daily temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. A scientist might tell you she runs her experiments at an average temperature of 273 kelvins. Average temperatures can be calculated using any of these units. You can even combine different units to calculate an average temperature.
What Is an Average?
An average is a measure of center. It gives you an idea of the central or most common value that occurs in a set of numbers. All averages are calculated in the same way. First, all the numbers in a set are added together. Then that sum is divided by the number of numbers in the set. The process for calculating an average temperature is no different.
Calculating an Average Temperature
Suppose you recorded your local high temperatures each day for one week. The data set below shows the temperature values in degrees Fahrenheit.
72, 65, 69, 74, 78, 80, 79
You can calculate the week's average high temperature by first adding all your data points together, then dividing the sum by seven.
Average temperature = (72 + 65 + 69 + 74 + 78 + 80 + 79) ÷ 7 = 73.8
The average high temperature during that week was 73.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Converting Between Temperature Units
What if you want to calculate the average temperature for a large region with different countries that use different temperature units? You can convert between units to accomplish that. In the end, you can express the average temperature using any unit you decide. Below are all the equations you need for converting among kelvins, degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius. In the equations, F stands for degrees Fahrenheit, C stands for degrees Celsius, and K stands for kelvins.
Converting to Degrees Fahrenheit F = (1.8 × C) + 32 F = (1.8 × (K - 273)) + 32
Converting to Degrees Celsius C = (F - 32) ÷ 1.8 C = K - 273
Converting to Kelvins K = C + 273 K = ((F - 32) ÷ 1.8) + 273
Calculating an Average Temperature With Conversions
Suppose you want to know the average temperature on a certain day for a specific northern latitude that runs through the United States, France, Austria and Hungary. If you used these countries as representatives for your average, your temperature data would use two units; the United States would report its temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, and the other three countries would report it in degrees Celsius. The data might look like these:
60°F, 17°C, 15°C, 18°C
To calculate the average temperature, you will have to first convert the first data point to degrees Celsius. Alternatively, you could convert the other three data points to degrees Fahrenheit, but that would involve more work. The calculation to convert 60 degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius would look like this:
C = (60 - 32) ÷ 1.8 = 15.6
The data set would now look like this:
15.6°C, 17°C, 15°C, 18°C
And the average temperature calculation would look like this:
Average temperature = (15.6 + 17 + 15 + 18) ÷ 4 = 16.4
The average temperature in this case would be 16.4°C.