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)
CLIMATOLOGY OF. WISCONSIN. wind blows again, usually more violently than before, accompanied by rain or snow, which is.now generally of short duration. The sky clears, and the stormis suddenly succeeded by a tempera- ture io or 2o degrees below the mean. Most of the rain.and snow falls with the east winds, or before the center passes a given point. The path of these storms is from west to east, or nearly so, and only seldom in other directions. These autumn, winter, and spring rains are generally first noticed on the western plains, but may originate at any point along their path, and move eastward with an average velocity of about 2o miles an hour in summer and 30 miles in winter, but sometimes attaining a velocity of over 50 miles, doing great damage on the. lakes. In pre- dicting these storms, the signal service of the army is of incalculable practical benefit, as well as in collecting data for scientific conclusions. A subject of the greatest importance. to every inhabitant of Wisconsin is the, influence of forests on climate and the effects of disrobing a county of its trees. The general influence of forests in modifying the extremes of temperature, retarding evaporation and the increased humidity of the air, has already been mentioned. That clearing the land of trees increases the temperature of the ground in summer, is so readily noticed that it is scarcely necessary to men- tion it; while in winter the sensible cold is never so extreme in woods as on an open surface exposed to the full force of the winds. " The lumbermen in Canada and the northern United States labor in the woods without inconvenience; when the mercury stands many degrees below zero, while in the open grounds, with, only a moderate breeze, the same temperature is almost insupportable." "In the state of Michigan it has been found that the winters have greatly increased in severity within the last forty years, and that this increased severity seems to move along even-paced with the destruction of the forests. Thirty years ago the peach was one of the most abundant fruits of that State; at that time frost, injurious to corn at any time. from May to October, was a thing unknown. Now the peach is an uncertain crop, and frost often injures the corn." The precise influence of forests on temperature may not at present admit of definite solu- tion, yet the mechanical screen which they furnish to the soil. often far to the leeward of them, is sufficiently established, and this alone is enough to encourage extensive planting wherever this protection is wanting. With regard to the quantity of rain-fall, "we can not positively affirm that the total annual quantity of rain is even locally diminished or increased by the destruction of the woods, though both theoretical considerations and the balance of testimony strongly favor the opinion that more rain falls in wooded than in open countries. One important conclusion, at least, upon the meteorological influence of forests is certain and undisputed: the proposition, namely, that, within their own limits, and near their own borders, they maintain a more uniform degree of humidity in the atmosphere than is observed in cleared grounds. Scarcely less can it be questioned that they tend to promote the frequency of showers, and, if:they do not augment the amount of precipitation, they probably equalize its distribution through the different seasons." There is abundant and undoubted evidence that the amount of water existing on the surface in lakes-and rivers, in many parts of the world, is constantly diminishing. In Germany, observa- tions of the Rhine, Oder, Danube, and the Elbe, in the latter case going back for a period of 142 years, demonstrate beyond doubt, that each of these rivers has much decreased in volume, and 'there is reason to fear that they will eventually disappear from the list of navigable rivers. "The 'Blue-Grass' region of Kentucky, once the pride- of the West, has now districts of such barren and arid nature that their, stock farmers are moving toward the Cumberland mount- ains, because the creeks and old springs dried up, and their wells became too low to furnish water for their cattle." In our own stat e"'such has been the change in the flow of the Milwau- 127
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