Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh, the weather outside is frightful….

It was COLD this morning, and even colder yesterday, but an old time New Englander might pooh-pooh that with a "Hey, when I was a kid, there were weeks in January when we never saw the warm side of zero." Would he be remembering correctly? Am I really becoming a weather wimp?

Luckily, Rauner has an extremely good set of weather records and observations, dating back to Ebenezer Adams, Jr.'s first entry in November 1827. And, by the way, Adams recorded that in 1835, it was 32 degrees below zero on January 4th, so I guess we should stop complaining,

Some of the weather records are official recordings taken on various instruments at Shattuck Observatory. Others have been recorded and compiled by volunteer observers. Professor of Astronomy Richard Goddard was often a recorder at the observatory. His report from a particularly cloudy January 50 years ago, shows his delight at a "Clear day!" Goddard also used the records to compile mean temperatures and precipitation totals over the course of decades; the files contain many of his charts, graphs and tables.

None of these were very useful to a researcher who once came in to use our meteorological records to determine the change in climate on campus after coeducation was implemented, but if you ever get to wondering just how windy it was in Hanover during the hurricane of 1938, or how much snow fell here during the Great Blizzard of 1888, or if that old timer was right about weeks of subzero temps, Rauner might just have the documents you need.

Ask for The Shattuck Observatory Records, DA-9. A finding aid is available.

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