Volume 49, Issue 3 (May 2004)
The Effect of Time After Body Discovery on the Accuracy of Retrospective Weather Station Ambient Temperature Corrections in Forensic Entomology
Weather station data are used by forensic entomologists to estimate ambient temperatures at body discovery sites. Correlation data from sites may also be collected to correct for site and station differences. This experiment tested the accuracy over time of retrospective weather data correction using linear regression between stations and sites. Temperatures were logged at six hypothetical body discovery sites during a seven-day period for which a hypothetical body lay in situ, and a further four correlation periods. The accuracy of weather data for hypothetical body in situ periods improved after correction in 22 of 24 correlations; however, mean predicted body in situ temperatures for sites differed significantly between correlation periods. Predicted temperatures generally rose with time after body removal, which correlated with rising site temperatures accompanying seasonal change. Therefore, practitioners should be cautious in making correlations if weather patterns during correlation differ greatly from those while the body was in situ.