Tag Archives: Climate change

Climate change, 19th century style

… the change which has taken place in our climate is one of those facts which all men of years are sensible of … I remember that when I was a small boy (say 60. years ago) snows were frequent and deep in every winter; to my knee very often, to my waist sometimes … and I remember, while yet young, to have heard from very old men that, in their youth, the winters had been still colder, with deeper & longer snows. in the year 1772. (37. years ago) we had a snow 2. feet deep in the Champain [level, open]parts of this state, & 3. feet in the counties next below the mountains. that year is still marked in conversation by the designation of ‘the year of the deep snow.
To Nathaniel Chapman, December 11, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Honest leaders admit when they can’t deliver.
The physician Chapman asked Jefferson’s help in documenting climate change. Jefferson had little to offer beyond personal recollection and a weather diary he kept in Washington City.

That recollection was of colder winters and heavier snowfall in his youth. When he was 29 (in 1772), snow ranged from 2 to 3 feet across Virginia. As President, he documented seven years’ annual snowfall in the nation’s capital from 4.5″ to 21″, the average being 14.5″.

Though lacking empirical data to help Chapman, his personal experience was of noticeably warmer winters over the course of a lifetime. He apologized for not being more able to help a fellow scientist.

… thanks for your excellent program…
I received nothing but compliments for your presentation as Thomas Jefferson.”
Past President, Cole County Historical Society
 Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak.
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