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Haywood, Carl N. (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume 75 (1987)

Moran, Joseph M.; Somerville, E. Lee
Nineteenth-centrury temperature record at Fort Howard, Green Bay, Wisconsin,   pp. 79-89 PDF (4.4 MB)


Page 79

Nineteenth-Century Temperature Record at Fort Howard, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Joseph M. Moran and E. Lee Somerville 
Abstract. Fort Howard (located near the present site of Green Bay, Wisconsin)
was one of several nineteenth-century army posts in the Old Northwest that
participated in the nation's first weather observing network. From late 1821
through mid-1841, and from late 1849 to mid-1852, medical personnel at the
fort maintained a nearly continuous log of daily weather conditions. A comparison
of monthly and annual mean temperatures suggests that recent months and years
in Green Bay were generally cooler than the 1820s and 1830s at Fort Howard.
However, several factors may affect the validity of this comparison. Specifically,
concern surrounds the accuracy, exposure, and location of the Fort Howard
thermometer, differences in methods of computation of mean temperatures,
and the reliability of Fort Howard's weather observers. Of these, instrument
exposure is probably the most troublesome factor for it appears likely that
at times Fort Howard's thermometer was exposed to direct sunlight. Such instrument
exposure would invalidate comparisons with the modern temperature record.
Font Howard, located near the present reliability of Font Howard's weather
site of downtown Green Bay, Wiscon- observers or the accuracy of the thensin,
was a member station of the nation's mometer in use, differences in weather
first weather observing network. In the observing practices between then
and now early to mid-1800s army medical person- pose more serious problems.
Of these, nd stationed at the font dutifully main- differences in instrument
exposure appear tamed a log of daily weather conditions, to be most significant
and may well inproviding us with a fascinating glimpse of validate any comparison
between temclimate for a period when such informa- peratunes at Font Howard
and Green Bay. tion was sparse throughout much of the 
North American interior. Comparison of The Surgeon General s the Font Howard
temperature record Weather Network 
with the modern temperature record at Because the War of 1812 with the Green
Bay suggests that the recent era was British revealed weaknesses within the
somewhat cooler than the earlier era. The medical service of the United States
Arprincipal objective of this study is to my, the newly appointed Surgeon
Genassess the validity of that comparison, crab, James Tilton, M.D., set
about in While there is little reason to question the 1813 to reorganize
the service by drawing 
up a new set of duties and regulations for 
Joseph M. Moran, principal author, is Professor of all army medical personnel.
As pant of 
Earth Science, College of Environmental Sciences, that reorganization, on
2 May 1814 TilUniversity of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin 
54301-7001. E. Lee Somerville is a student in the ton issued an order that,
in retrospect, 
RegionalAnalysis program at UW-Green Bay. marked the first step in the eventual
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