Bad Plots

A coworker pointed out this plot to me yesterday, and while it's not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things, the issue has kept bugging me.

Here is the offending item:

On one hand, it does a good job of illustrating the variation of temperature and density throughout the atmosphere. On the other hand, what the heck is going on with the two ordinate axes? The mixture of linear and log scales is okay, but tricky with the horizontal grid lines. Trying to have a log-scale ticking system between three orders of magnitude, however, just makes my head hurt.


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"O Whisky! soul o' plays and pranks! Accept a bardie's gratfu' thanks! When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks Are my poor verses! Thou comes-they rattle in their ranks, At ither's a-s!" Robert Burns - "Scotch Drink" 1785

One thought on “Bad Plots”

  1. I was looking at this plot saying "eh, it's not that bad" until I saw what you mean about the log scales jumping by three magnitudes. I think that's when you want to plot the log of the number, not use a log scale and plot the number itself.

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