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What is the purpose for doing this? Is it inaccurate to calculate anomalies for variables such as sea surface temperature and precipitation based on a different time period?

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In theory the choice of baseline average is irrelevant, because the purpose of using anomalies to to clearly see the change over time, allowing different absolute values to be compared.

Although in climate studies, we try to use baselines that are as 'pre-industrial' as possible to try and get the change from 'natural'.

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