Crossovers (1)

Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey was an eminent ornithologist round about a century ago. The Smithsonian have her diary from 1887, and are running a volunteer project to transcribe it. Despite the strong hints given in the printed page headers of her diary, Florence rarely included weather observations, but there is at least one:

Minus 26 degrees (presumably F), and down to minus 30 in the valley. That’s pretty cold even for New York state (where Florence was at the time). Why so cold? Now, that’s something we can help with, with our rich collection of historical observations and renalysis. I don’t usually do forecasts (there’s another part of the Met Office for that), but as this one’s for 128 years ago maybe we can stretch a point:

Forecast for Monday, January 3rd, 1887: The high pressure currently over the central United States will strengthen and move eastward, bringing clear skies, northerly winds, and very cold weather.

A forecast for Florence Bailey in 1887: Uses data from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/20thC_Rean/ - version 2c) and shows the places where we have observations (yellow dots) sea-level pressure anomalies (contours: solid=low pressure and dashed=high), and temperature anomalies (red=unusually hot, blue=unusually cold).

Thanks to @SiobhanLeachman, @MeghaninMotion, @TranscribeSI, and Florence Bailey herself; for this citizen science/documentary records/historical weather crossover study.

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