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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 85

Fort Howard Temperature Record 
higher elevation (208 meters above mean maximum/minimum thermometer is read
sea level) versus that of Font Howard (178 and reset (that is, the observation
hour) meters above mean sea bevel) coupled with influences the daily mean
temperature the airport's greaten distance from the and hence, the monthly
and annual mean moderating influence of the waters of temperatures as well.
He noted variations Green Bay would favor a more continen- of up to 1.7 F°
in annual mean temperatab climate at the airport (Fig. 3). (The tune and
up to 2.3 F° in monthly mean more continental the climate, the greaten
temperature depending upon the specific is the contrast between summer and
win- hour of observation. Because observation ter.) However, based on a comparison
of hours at army posts were selected to catch contemporary temperature observations
the usual times of the day's lowest temat the airport and at a site near
the bay penature (near sunrise) and highest temshone (the University of Wisconsin-Green
peratune (early afternoon), it appears likeBay campus), the difference in
continen- by that the actual error arising from the tabity is insignificant
in the time frame army's averaging method would be less of months and years.
On days when me- than that reported in Baker's study. Ingional winds are
light on calm, winter deed, it is likely that the two averaging mornings
typically are several degrees cob- methods do not produce statistically sigden,
and summer afternoons are a few de- nificant differences in computations
of grees warmer at the airport. Nonetheless, monthly and annual mean temperatures.
there are only slight differences in This same conclusion was also reached
by monthly and annual mean temperatures. Wahl (1968) and Thalem (1979) in
their reSince national weather observation spective analyses of the Fort
practices were standardized in 1873 (year (near Portage, Wisconsin) and West
Point of the founding of the International (New York) nineteenth-century
temperaMeteorological Organization, predecessor tune records. 
of the World Meteorological Onganiza- Any question regarding the reliability
tion), monthly mean temperatures have of Font Howard's weather observers
is been computed by averaging daily mean probably unwarranted. Although the
artemperatures, which in turn are derived my's weather observers were not
profesby simply taking one-half the sum of the sional meteorologists, the
Medical Dc24-hour maximum temperature and mini- pantment supplied them with
very detailed mum temperature. However, themmom- instructions on how to take
and record eters that register maximum and mini- weather observations. There
were great mum temperatures and that can be reset demands on the time and
energy of mcdionce every 24 hours were not in use by cal personnel at Fort
Howard (and other the Army Medical Department's weather posts as well) because
they were the only network (Fonmy 1842). At army posts, physicians within
hundreds of kilometers monthly mean temperatures were com- and they tended
to the medical needs of puted by averaging the mean tempera- the nearby civilian
population as well as tunes obtained for each of the daily obsen- those of
the garrison (Kellogg 1934). It is vations. therefore all the more extraordinary
 An estimate of the maximum error in- they carried out their weather observing
troduced by differences in the two averag- duties with skill and dedication
as is cviing methods is based on a study by Baker dent from even a cursory
examination of (1975). Analyzing modern climatic data the original journals
(The National Arfrom St. Paul, Minnesota, Baker found chives 1952). Of the
10 weather observers that varying the time of day when the who served at
Fort Howard between 1822 

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