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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 80

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 
establishment of a national network of treme on unusual weather. In 1836,
many weather observing stations (Haganty posts (including Font Howard) were
sup1962). Tibton directed the army medical plied with rain gages (DeWitt-type)
along corp to maintain a diary of weather condi- with very precise instructions
on the tions at army posts with responsibility proper siting and use of the
instrument. for weather observations fabling to the Rainfall or melted snowfall
was measured post's chief medical officer or surgeon. in inches (to 0.01
in.) at the end of each Tilton's objective was to learn more about precipitation.
Also beginning in 1836, the climate encountered by troops in the prevailing
wind direction and weather then sparsely populated interior of the conditions
were recorded for both morncontinent. He also wanted to assess the ing and
afternoon. 
relationship between weather and health In 1842, the Army Medical Board,
in for it was a popular notion at the time consultation with some of the
era's beadthat weather and climate were important ing scientists, selected
and issued new factors in the onset of disease.' weather instruments along
with revised It took time for Tibton's order to be im- and somewhat more
sophisticated obsemplemented. The War of 1812 was still nag- vation procedures
(Mower 1844). These ing, and weather instruments had to be new procedures
were adopted widely in acquired and distributed along with di- January 1843
(1849 at Fort Howard), and rections for proper use. Benjamin Water- except
for observation times the instruchouse, M.D., surgeon at Cambridge, tions
are similar to those issued to today's Massachusetts, was the first to submit
cooperative weather observers. Temperaweather data (for March, 1816). By
1818, tune, cloud coven (in tenths), and wind reports of weather observations
at several direction were recorded four times daily: 
army posts began trickling into the at sunrise, 9 A.M., 3 P.M., and 9 P.M.
The Surgeon General's office, and under the wet bulb thermometer was read
at sunrise direction of Tilton's successor, Joseph and 3 P.M., and at some
army posts Lovell, M.D., the data were compiled, barometer readings also
were recorded. summarized, and eventually published Later, in 1855 the Surgeon
General's Of(Lawson 1840). For this reason Lovell fice shifted observation
hours back to 7 rather than Tilton is sometimes credited A.M./2 P.M./9 P.M.,
convinced that these with being the founder of the govern- observation times
gave a better estimate ment's system of weather observation of daily mean
temperature. 
(Landsberg 1964). Medical personnel entered weather data At first, a thermometer
and wind vane in a journal each day, and quarterly sum- 
were the only weather instruments in use manes (January-March, April-June,
Julyat the army posts. The chief medical of- September, and October-December)
were ficer or his assistant read the thermometer prepared and then forwarded
to the Army daily at 7 A.M., 2 P.M. and 9 P.M. (local sun Medical Department
in Washington, time), and noted the day's prevailing wind D.C. Tabulations
of weather data from direction and weather conditions. In a all army posts
were later published as a column labeled "remarks," comments series
of Meteorological
Registers (Lawwere entered concerning the health of the son 1840, 1851, 1855).
troops, phenobogical events, and any cx- By 1838, 16 army posts had compiled
at 
_____ least 10 complete—albeit not always suc 
- ' Bates and Fuller (1986) point out that in war- cessive—yeams
of
weather data. In ensuing time, even as late as World War I, more soldiers
died . 
from non-combat causes (disease, primarily) than years the number of military
weather 
from battle. observing stations climbed steadily, 
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