The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Oldenhage, H. H.
Climatology of Wisconsin, pp. -128 PDF (3.9 MB)
CLIMNTOLOGY OF WISCONSIN. while the range above the mean in England is very small. It is the tropical element of our sum- mers, then, that causes the grape, the corn, etc., to ripen, while England, with a higher mean temperature, is unable to mature them successfully. Ireland, where southern plants may remain out-doors, unfrosted, the whole winter, can not mature those fruits and grasses which ripen in Wisconsin. In England a depression of 2Q below the mean of 6oD will greatly reduce the quan- tity, or prevent the ripening of wheat altogether, 6o0 being essential to a good crop. Wheat, re- quiring a lower temperature than corn, is better adapted to the climate of Wisconsin. This grain may be grown as far north as Hudson bay. Autumn, including September, October and November, is of short duration in Wisconsin. North of the 42d' parallel, or the southern boundary line of the state, November belongs properly to the winter months, its mean temperature being about 32Q. The decrease of heat from August to September is generally from 81 to 90; i iI from September wo October, and 14Q from October to November. The average temperature for these three months is about 450. A beautiful season, commonly known as Indian summer, frequently occurs in the latter part of October and in No- vember. This period is characterized by a mild temperature and a hazy, calm atmosphere. According to Loomis, this appears to be due to "an uncommonly tranquil condition of the atmos- phere, during which the air becomes filled with dust and smoke arising from numerous fires, by which its transparency is greatly impaired." This phenomenon extends as far north as Lake Superior, but it is more conspicuous and protracted in Kansas and Missouri, and is not observed in the southern states. Destructive frosts generally occur in September, and sometimes in August. "Atemperature of 36' to 40Q at sunrise is usually attended with frosts destructive to vegetation, the position of the thermometer being usually such as to represent less than the actual refrigeration at the open surface."' In 1875, during October, at Milwaukee, the mercury fell seven times below the freez- ing point, and twice below zero in November, the lowest being i4Q. The winters are generally long and severe, but occasionally mild and almost without snow. The mean winter temperature varies between 230 in the southeastern part of the state, and 16' at Ashland, in the northern. For this season the extremes are great. The line of 2o0 is of im- portance, as it marks the average temperature which is fatal to the growth of all the tender trees, such as the pear and the peach. In the winter of 1875 and 1876, the mean temperature for De- cember, January and February, in the upper lake region, was about, 40 above the average mean for many years, while during the previous winter the average temperature for January and Feb- ruary-was.about i20 below the mean for many years, showing a great difference between cold and mild winters. In the same winter, 1875-'76, at Milwaukee, the thermometer fell only six times below zero, the lowest being I2Q, while during the preceding winter the mercury sank thirty-six times below zero, the lowest being 23'. In the northern and northwestern part of the state the temperature sometimes falls to the freezing point of mercury. During the exceptionally cold Winter of 1872-3, at La Crosse, the thermometer sank nearly fifty times below zero; on Decem- ber 24, it indicated 37c' below, and on January i8, 430 below zero, averaging about I2' below the usual mean for those months. The moderating effect of Lake Michigan can be seen by observing how the lines indicating the mean winter temperature curve northward as they approach the lake. Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Two Rivers, and the Grand Traverse region of Michigan, have the same average wintei temperature. The same is true regarding Galena, Ill., Beloit, and Kewaunee. A similar influence is noticed in all parts of the state. Dr. Lapham concludes that this is not wholly due to the presence of Lake Michigan, but that the mountain range which extends from a little west-of Lake Superior to the coast of Labrador (from 1,100 to 2,240 feet high) protects the lake region in no inconsiderable dtegree from the excessive cold of winter.
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