Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/417

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
403
SKETCH OF CLEVELAND ABBE.

spent upon Mount Adams could be best improved by paying special attention to meteorology. An hourly record was begun of all important atmospheric phenomena. Monthly reports of meteorological observations were received from observers in other cities. The interest of the Chamber of Commerce was engaged in the organization of a system of daily weather-reports and storm-predictions; the gratuitous co-operation of experienced observers was tendered; and the use of the Western Union telegraph lines was offered at a nominal price. The daily "Weather Bulletin" of the Cincinnati Observatory was issued, first in manuscript form, for the use of the Chamber of Commerce, and a week later in print, as an independent publication. It was supported for three months by the Chamber of Commerce, then passed into the hands of the observatory. Finally, the independent publication was discontinued, and the bulletin only appeared under the same title in the morning papers. Subsequently, the publication, by a manifold process, of a daily weather-chart was undertaken, which, in consequence of the observatory's lack of means, was kept up at the expense of the Cincinnati office of the Western Union Telegraph Company, The National Board of Trade meeting at Richmond, Virginia, united in a memorial to Congress, the fruit of which, with other proceedings of a similar character, among which was Professor Lapham's memorial asking for the institution of signals for Milwaukee and Lake Michigan, was the passage of a joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of War to provide for taking meteorological observations at military posts in the interior of the continent, and on the lakes and sea-coasts, for the purpose of giving warning of the approach and probable force of storms.

The superintendency of these observations, or the "Weather Bureau," was put in the charge of General Albert J. Myer, Chief of the Army Signal Service, who appointed Professor Abbe his assistant, or meteorologist. In this position. Professor Abbe, during 1871, organized the methods and work of the so-called "probability" or study-room, in making weather-maps, drawing isobars, ordering storm-signals, etc., and dictated the published official tri-daily synopses and "probabilities" of the weather. In the same year he began and urged the collection of lines of leveling, and in 1872, by laborious analysis, deduced the altitudes of the Signal-Service barometers above sea-level. He instituted in 1872, and reorganized in 1874, the work of publishing a monthly weather-review, with its maps and studies of storms. He urged the extension of simultaneous observations throughout the world, as the only proper method of studying the weather; and, as General Myer distinctly avowed, the success of the negotiations of the Vienna Congress of 1874 was due to following his advice. And he organized, in 1875, the work of preparing the material and publishing the "Daily Bulletin of Simultaneous International Meteorological Observations." Especially is the organization of the numerous State weather services