Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 096.djvu/300

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Mr. Flinders's Observations

off at night, and the mercury descending, I made no scruple of anchoring near the shore; knowing that it would either be a calm, or a wind would come off the land; but if the mercury kept up, I stretched off, in the expectation that it would freshen up again in a few hours. Amongst the barrier reefs, when the wind was dying away, the barometer told me, almost certainly, from what quarter it would next spring up. If the mercury stood at 30,15, or near it and was rising, I expected the proper trade wind; and if higher, that it would be well from the southward, or would blow fresh; and if it was up to 30,30, both. The falling of the mercury to 30,10 was an indication of a breeze from the north-eastward; and its descent below 30 inches that it would spring up, or shift round to the westward. This regularity of connection between the barometer and the direction of the wind, is perhaps too great to be expected at a different time of the year; and it is probable, that we should not have found it continue so strictly, had our stay amongst the barrier reefs been much prolonged.

5th. Leaving the east coast in the latitude 17 south, we steered off to the northward for Torres' Strait, in the latter part of October. As we advanced northward, I found the mercury stand gradually lower with the same kind of wind and weather. The difference was not material till we reached the latitude 13, but afterwards, the south-east wind which had before kept the mercury up to 30,15, then permitted it to fall to 29,90; and the winds from ENE and NNE to 29,85. Was this alteration owing to the want of density in the air brought in by the south-east winds, in this lower latitude?— to our increased distance from the land?— or was it, that the