Pat Shingleton: "Climate Change in the 1700s."
In the late 1700s, scholars were debating whether human activities were changing earth's climate. Noted in a previous column- Thomas Jefferson and his colleague, Harvard professor Samuel Williams,wrote; "A change in our climate is taking place, both heats and colds are much more moderate within the memory of the middle-aged. When settlers enter a township their first business is to cut downtrees, clear lands and sow grains." They believed the surface of earth became warm and dry and as settlements increased, the effects are more extensive. Dr. Noah Webster believed clearing of land welcomed sun, thus a changeover from forest to field changes the heat balance. Webster's reflections were noted by Helmut Landsberg 170 years later.