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A statistical approach implies that the commonly accepted derivation for the stochastic variation in line power leads to a 67% underestimate. The ‘lifetime’ of a mode should be defined in terms of the reciprocal of the linewidth, not the e-folding time of the mode. The ratio of positive to negative measurement uncertainties in observed linewidth data is essentially constant. Modeling the distribution of the linewidth measurement values as an exponential produces self-consistent estimates of the standard deviation, and can be useful in examining error propagation. The ratio of the line-power uncertainties is also nearly constant. However, the measurement distribution is more complex. It exhibits behavior similar to an exponential, but has more components.