Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the November 23, 2003 Newsletter issued from the woods near Natchez, Mississippi USA

On the Internet I tried to find the official rainfall numbers for this Monday and Tuesday in Natchez, but only succeeded in Googling up a brief paper on another topic, published by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Apparently someone in the Corps had found weather data kept at Natchez back during pioneer days from 1798 to 1819, and these data were compared to those of today.

The author concluded that, in general, the climate then was distinctly cooler than today. The average annual temperature for the era was 64°F(18°C, which is nearly 20°F (1°C) lower than during the period from 1961-90. Analysis of frost data implies a much shorter growing season back then. Rainfall at that time in Natchez averaged only 84% of what it is now. Interestingly, the year 1816, known in US history as "The Year Without A Summer" because it remained so cold all summer in New England, down here was hot and dry.

The page reporting this information can be accessed at http://ams.confex.com/ams/May2000/12Applied/abstracts/13507.htm