Report on Climate of Iowa.
METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL, — MUSCATINE, IOWA.
FOR THE YEAR 1856. — BY T. S. PARVIN, SMITHSONIAN OBSERVER.
Latitude 41° 2' North, — Longitude 92° 2' West, (proximate.) Barometer 72.21 feet above low water in (and 586.21 feet above the mouth of) the Mississippi River.
|BAROMETER. Height reduced to freezing point.||THERMOMETER, IN THE OPEN AIR.||FORCE OF VAPOR, IN INCHES.||RELATIVE HUMIDITY.|
|7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.||MONTHLY MEAN||7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.||MONTHLY MEAN||MAXIMUM.||MINIMUM.||7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.||7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.|
|CLOUDS; AMOUNT, COURSE AND VELOCITY. Amount from 10 to 0: velocity from 0 to 10||WEATHER — RAIN AND SNOW. Days and amount.||WINDS — DIRECTION & FORCE. Force from 0 to 10.|
|7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.||N' — N. E.||E. — S. E.||S. S. W.||W. — N. W.||7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.||CLEAR.||CLOUDY.||VARIABLE.||NO. OFDAYS.||AMT. IN INCHES.||NO. OF DAYS.||DEPTH — INCHES||N. — N. E.||E.— S. E.||S. — S. W.||W. — N. W.||7 A.M.||2 P.M.||9 P.M.|
|Lowest Temperature, February 4,||-29°|
|Highest Temperature, June 24,||97°|
|Range of Temperature||126°|
|Lowest height Barom'r, Nov. 21, 28.80 inch:||Term'r attached 37 °|
|Greatest height Barom'r, Jan. 25, 30.00 inch:||Term'r attached 15°|
|Frost last in the Spring,||April 19.|
|Frost first in the Fall,||Sept. 24.|
|Disappearance of frost from the ground,||May 1.|
|Average Mean for 18 years||41°.12|
[Range 43°.21, 1849; 50°00, 1846.
|Range of Barometer,||1.20 inch.|
|Mean height of Barometer||29.44 inch.|
|Depth of ground frozen,||2 ft. 6 in.|
|Thickness of Ice on the river,||2 ft. 3 in.|
FLOWERING OF FRUIT TREES. — Apple, May 12; Cherry, May 9; Peach
Total quantity of Rain in inches, 36.74 in.; in 1855, 24.55 in.; least 1854, 21.1 in.; greatest 1851, 72.4; mean, 41.90 in.
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY. — Intensely cold; began to moderate about the 20th of February. — MARCH AND APRIL. — River high; Spring very backward; Peach and Quince trees all killed, and Pear, Cherry and Plum trees badly injured; the Apple also considerably injured. — AUGUST, SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER. — River extremely low; Weather dry until the middle of October. — NOVEMBER. — Very wet; River good stage. — DECEMBER. — Very rainy and changeable; more Snow than for many winters.
|Mississippi closed, December 6||In 1855, December 25.|
|Mississippi opened, March 29.|
|Number of days closed, 94, or double that of 1855.|
|The greatest rise, May,||13 ft. 3 in.|
|The greatest fall, September,||8 ft. 10 in.|
|Extreme rise and fall||4 ft. 5 in.|
|Earliest time of closing, (in 20 years,)||November 26th, 1842.|
|Latest time of closing,||January 29th, 1850.|
|Average time of closing,||December 31st.|
|Earliest time of opening,||January 29th, 1846.|
|Latest time of opening,||April 8th, 1843.|
|Average time of opening,||March 1st.|
|Shortest period Mississippi closed,||22 days, in 1850-'51.|
|Longest period Mississippi closed,||133 days, in 1842-'43.|
|Average period Mississippi closed,||60 days|
|MONTHS AND SEASONS.||YEARS — TEMPERATURE.||M'ns 7 yrs.||Diff. '56 and m'n.|
|MONTHS AND SEASONS.||YEARS — RAIN.||M'ns. 7 yrs.||Diff. '56 and m'n.|
|Winter total,||5.60||8.50||5.10||6.00||1.25||1.91||6.36||4.96||plus 1.40|
|Winter mean,||1.87||2.83||1.70||2.00||.42||.63||2.12||1.65||plus .47|
|MONTHS AND SEASONS.||YEARS — SNOW.||M'ns 7 yrs.||Diff. bet. '56 and mean.|
|December ('49),||4.70||3.70||1.50||11.40||3.20||1.00||13.00||5.50||plus 7.50|
|Winter total,||6.90||12.60||4.70||14.40||12.70||25.60||37.20||16.36||plus 20.84|
|Winter mean,||2.30||4.20||1.56||4.80||4.23||8.86||12.40||5.48||plus 5.82|
|Annual total,||8.80||20.20||7.30||24.40||14.70||33.60||46.00||22.14||plus 23.86|
|Annual mean,||1.46||3.36||1.21||4.06||2.45||5.60||7.66||3.68||plus 3.98|
|FROST AND ICE.||YEARS.||Mean Time.|
|Frost first,||Sept 7||Sept 28||Sept 26||Sept 10||Oct 15||Sept 27||Sept 24||Sept 24|
|Frost last,||Apr 23||May 5||May 20||May 25||May 2||May 6||Apr 19||May 6|
|Ice first,||Sept 29||Oct 15||Sept 26||Oct 2||Oct 15||Oct 25||Sept 24||Oct 7|
|Ice last,||Apr 23||May 1||Apr 22||May 13||May 2||May 6||Apr 19||Apr 29|
|Apple,||May 3||May 3||May 10||May 4||Apr 24||Apr 29||May 12||May 3|
|Peach,||May 1||May 1||May 10||Apr 30||Apr 20||May 1||May 1|
|Cherry,||May 1||May 1||May 5||May 1||Apr 22||May 1||May 9||May 1|
|Plum,||Apr 29||May 1||May 3||Apr 21||May 10||May 12||May 8|
|Pear,||May 5||May 3||Apr 20||May 1||May 15||May 9|
|Quince,||May 5||Apr 24||May 10||May 13|
TEMPERATURE. — The mean temperature of the year at this point for seven years past is 47.05 degrees, while that of the past year is only 44.73, or 2.32 less than the septennial average, and is the coldest year of the seven; the range being from 46.28 degrees, in 1850, to 49.81 degrees, in 1854. The Winter was intensely cold, all the months ranging below the corresponding means, while the first Spring month, the last Summer month, and the first and last autumn months, were also below the corresponding means of those months.
The River did not open until the 29th of March, four weeks after the average period of its opening, and the Spring was very late. The severe Winter had killed all the Peach, Plum, and Quince Trees in this region, and about three-fourths of the Pear, and near one-fourth of the Apple Trees were seriously injured or entirely killed by the low temperature.
RAIN. — The total quantity of Rain and melted Snow for the year is 32.71 inches, (the discrepancy between this number and the footing in the first table arises from the fact that in that the legal year is accounted, and in this the astronomical year is recorded, and throughout the table of "Rain" and "Snow" December of '49 is counted and December of '56 omitted), being 10.55 inches less than the septennial mean of 43.26 inches. The annual range in quantity has been very great, from 22.06 inches, in 1854, to 73.00 inches, in 1851. It was in this latter year that the high water occurred in the Mississippi and its tributaries — the highest known to that mysterious person, "the oldest inhabitant." In 1854 occurred the "great drought" in this and the Western States generally, but owing to the porous nature of our soil, the crops with us turned out much better than in States East of the Mississippi.
SNOW. — The total quantity of Snow for the year ('56) is 46 inches, or 23.86 more than the mean. The smallest amount was in 1852, only 7.30 inches, while for the two past years the amount has greatly increased, and it is owing to the item of melted Snow (10 inches of Snow when melted making 1 inch of water) of the past and previous year that the amount of Rain has been as large as it is, for the Summer was very dry.
TEMPERATURE. — The mean temperature of the Winter is 7.24 degrees below the average, the former being 14.98 degrees, that of the latter 22.22 degrees. The warmest winter was that of 1853, 24.19 degrees. The coldest of twenty was that of 1855-56, when for days together the Thermometer ranged below zero, sinking as low as -29 degrees. Each of the winter months are below the mean. The prevailing Winds are West and North-West.
RAIN. — The quantity of Rain, including melted Snow, is for '56 greater than the mean, but without it, less. In the Winter of '54 there was no Rain in December or January, in that of '55 none in February, and none in January of the past Winter (56). Total of Rain and melted Snow is 6.36 inches; the mean is 4.96 inches.
SNOW. — The average depth of Snow is 16.36 inches, while in the Winter of 1855-56, we had 37.20 inches — exceeding the mean by 20.84 inches. In 1851-52 there was but 4.70 inches, which has steadily increased in the succeeding four years.
TEMPERATURE. — The mean temperature is 45.51 degrees, being only .81 degrees below the mean, which is 46.40 degrees. The coldest Spring was in 1850, the mean being 42.56 degrees; the warmest was 1854, 50.00 degrees. The temperature of the Spring months of the past year was unequally distributed, March being much below the mean, while April and May were above.
RAIN. — Each of the months was below the mean in quantity of Rain, the total being 8.08 inches, and the mean 12.65 inches.
SNOW. — There has been Snow in March of each year, except that of 1852, and in 1850 and '51 there was Snow in April. The total for March '56 was 3.60 inches, and the mean 2.04 inches.
The prevailing Winds of the Spring months are for March West and North-West; April South and South-West, and May East and South-East.
TEMPERATURE. — There was less than a degree difference between the temperature of this Summer and the mean of the last seven years, — the former being 70.23 degrees, and the latter 70.44 degrees. July is the warmest month. The Summer temperature ranges from 68.45 in 1851, to 72.37 degrees in 1854. From this comparison the past Summer was neither too hot nor too cold.
RAIN. — This season was very dry. The total quantity of Rain was only 6.78 inches, while the mean reaches 17.05 inches, an excess over the last season of 10.27 inches.
The crops were, notwithstanding the Summer drought, more than an average yield, both of corn and small grain, and the three or four dry seasons we have had has abundantly proved that the soil and climate of Iowa are unsurpassed on the continent for farming purposes.
The prevailing winds are South-East and South-West.
TEMPERATURE. — The temperature of this season, too, was quite uniform, being less than a degree below the mean. September was colder than the mean by 4 degrees, and there were several frosts this month which shortened the corn crop somewhat.
RAIN. — September and the first half of October were very dry, but in the middle of the latter month the Rains set in, and the latter half of October and the whole of November were unusually wet, exceeding the mean by near an inch. The total is 11.49 inches, and the mean 10.59 inches.
SNOW. — In every year we have had Snow in November; in 1856, 5.20 inches, mean 2.93 inches, an excess therefor of 2.27 inches.
In this and for several years past we have had no "January thaw," and during this year as well as the previous one, we had no "June rise." Notwithstanding the deep Snows here and further North, the River had only a moderate stage of water in the Spring, and during the Summer and Autumn it was very low — so low as to prevent the passage of boats over the Rapids for months.
The prevailing Winds are South and South-West.
JANUARY. — The mean temperature of this month for the past year was 7.52 degrees; that of the seven years past, 20.45 degrees. The coldest January was the past; (the lowest range of the Thermometer in 7 years was -29 degrees, Feb. 4, '56); the warmest in 1853, 27.05 degrees. This is the coldest month of 16 years. In '54 and '56 there was no rain, in 1850 there was 4.40 inches, the mean being 1.41 inches.
In 1851 there was but .50 inch of snow, while in 1855 there was 17.50 inches, in '56, 12.20 inches; the mean is 5.80 inches.
River low, and closed all the month.
FEBRUARY. — The mean temperature for the year is 15.03, for the seven years, 23.73; that of 1856 being 8.70 below the mean, and was the coldest February for seven years past; the warmest was that of 1852, the mean being 29.00.
The amount of rain for this month, including melted snow, is 4.34 inches; in 1851 it reached to 4.50 inches, and in 1855 there was none; the mean is 1.79, showing an excess for the last February of 2.55 inches.
In 1850 and 1852 there was no snow in February, while in 1856 there fell 12.00 inches, the mean being only 5.00 inches.
The River low, and closed.
Prevailing winds in January and February, North-West and West.
MARCH — Is the most unpleasant month of the year, characterised in this region by high, chilly winds, from a Western direction. The frost, which usually penetrates to a depth of from 20 to 25 inches, as it escapes, leaves the earth soft and wet, and the roads are soon cut up by the travel, and rendered almost impassable.
The mean temperature of this month in 1856, is 25.80 degrees, or 7.97 less than the mean, which is 33.77 degrees. This month of the past year, like the two preceding, is the coldest of the past seven years. In 1854 the mean temperature was 39.86 degrees.
There was but little rain in March, — only .25 inch, the mean being 2.61 inches, and maximum 8.60, in 1852.
Snow has fallen every year in March, except 1852, maximum being in 1855, 6.50 inches; the mean is 2.04 inches, while in the last March there was 3.60 inches.
The Mississippi River opened on the 29th, having been closed 94 days; the average period of its opening for 20 years past is the 1st of March, and the average length of time closed is 60 days. River still low.
APRIL. — This is practically in this climate the first Spring month, as the Winter "drags its slow length along" so far into its predecessor that but little out-door work can be done. The range of its mean temperature is from 41.22 degrees, in 1850, to 53.93 degrees, in 1855, that of 1856 being 49.37 degrees, or 2.27 above the mean of 47.10 degrees. In this month the fruit trees generally put forth their blossoms, and the birds of song make their welcome return.
In April 1850-51 there fell snow, in the latter year to the depth of 6.00 inches. The mean total of rain is 4.54 inches; that of '56 being 3.44 inches, or 1.10 less than the mean. The range is from 1.76, in 1854, the dry season, to 11.80, in 1853.
The melting snow did not materially raise the river, which continued at a low stage.
It was now that an inspection of the fruit trees showed how severe was the injury inflicted upon them by the past winter. The wood, which preserved its natural color, revealed by the incision of the pruning knife an entire absence of sap and vitality; even the forest trees were split open in many cases by the power of the frost.
MAY. — This with October are the most pleasant and delightful months of the year.
All the previous months of the year have revealed a temperature below the mean — that of this month is above, 2.96 degrees, the mean being 61.38 degrees, the highest in seven years, while that of the seven is but 58.42 degrees; the lowest was in 1850, being 53.30 degrees.
The total of Rain is 4.39 inches — the mean of seven years 5.70 — the maximum, in 1851, the year of highest water, 12.60 inches — the minimum, in 1855, 1.94 inches.
A gradual rise in the River, and a good stage of water.
JUNE. — This month too shows a mean temperature (of 3.04 degrees) above the average, the first being 71.79 degrees, and the latter 68.65 degrees, and was the warmest June in seven years; the coldest was in 1851, 64.64 degrees.
The quantity of rain in this month is 2.68 inches, the mean 4.92. The greatest was 14.20 inches, in 1851, and the least in 1856, only .66 inch.
The River at a good stage, but without the June rise; there was none in 1854 or '55, while in 1853 it came nearly up to the high water mark of '51.
JULY. — This is the hottest month of the year, the mean temperature being 72.81 degrees; that of the coldest month (January) is 20.45 degrees. The annual mean is 47.05 degrees. The warmest month then exceeds the annual mean by 25.76 degrees, and the coldest falls short 26.60 degrees.
The mean for the last year is 73.51 degrees, an excess of .70 degree above the mean, the greatest of which is for 1855, 76.16 degrees, and the least the year preceding, 68.82 degrees. The highest range of the Thermometer in seven years is 99 degrees, August 31 — range 128 degrees.
The mean amount of rain for this month is 4.45 inches, the total for July 1856, 2.74 inches, and the range from 2.22 inches to 8.60 inches in the years 1854 and 1851, the dry and wet years of the seven, and indeed the last nineteen (of our record.)
The River fell several inches during the month, and continued at a low stage, almost suspending navigation for this and the two succeeding months.
AUGUST. — This month for the past year was colder than in any of the preceding seven, its mean temperature being 65.40 degrees, while the average mean is 70.01, and the greatest was in 1854, when it was 73.00 degrees. It was very dry, notwithstanding its low temperature, the total of rain being only 1.36 inches, the least of the seven, the greatest (as before) being in 1851, 14.00 inches, and the mean 5.06 inches.
The health of the Summer was good; in fact a more healthy region or climate is scarcely to be found.
SEPTEMBER. — This month, too, is below the average mean in its temperature, 4.61 degrees, and like last August is the coldest of the seven years. Its mean temperature is 59.00 degrees, the average 63.61 degrees, and the maximum mean that of 1851, 68.34 degrees. Occasionally frosts occur in the early part of this month, to the injury of the corn crop, which was the case partially last year.
The average amount of rain is 3.90 inches, and the total in September last, 2.45 inches, which amount was increased in 1852 to 8.30 inches, and diminished to 1.13 inches in 1853.
OCTOBER. — The Autumns are always delightful in the region round about Iowa, and this is the pleasantest of its months. The mean temperature of this month differs from that of the season by being only .53 degree greater, and exceeds that of the year 1.99 degrees only; while April approximates to within .05 degree of it.
The mean temperature is 49.67 degrees, while the range is from 44.15 to 54.36 degrees, in the years 1850 and '54 respectively.
The amount of rain in this month is 5.21 inches; the mean 3.45 inches. In 1850 there was only .20 inch, and the greatest was the last year, when the latter part was very wet.
The River rose several inches in the latter part of this month.
NOVEMBER. — This is the last month of the physical year, and closes the Autumn or Fall season. The mean temperature for 1856 is 32.79 degrees, and the average mean 35.60 degrees. The consecutive years of 1852-53 furnish the extremes of means, the first being 30.00 and the last 39.73 degrees.
This month was very wet, and more disagreeable than any for several years past, showing an entire absence of our usual "Indian Summers." The mean
12amount of rain is for November 3.28 inches — the total for 1856, 3.83 inches, an excess of .60 inch. In 1854 the amount was only .09 inch, and in 1852 it was 5.50 inches.
DECEMBER. — In our tables, extending over the period of seven years, we have included December 1849 and excluded it for 1856. The mean temperature, however, of this month for this latter year is less than any of the preceding, being only 15.63, 6.86 less than the mean, which is 22.49 degrees, the maximum being in 1854, 26.76 degrees.
In December, 1853, there was no rain — in the preceding year the amount was 5.00 inches — in the last December it reached 6.05 inches, while the mean is only 1.75 inches, showing an excess of 4.30 inches.
The average period of the closing of the River (Mississippi) is the 31st of this month — this year it closed suddenly on the night of the 6th, with a low stage of water.