Pat Shingleton: "The First Weather Reports and Red Leaves..."
Weather observations probably first occurred when man first stomped around on the earth. The Babylonians recorded wind directions in 900 B.C.E. on an eight point compass. In India and Greece, during the fifth century, rainfall records were kept and from 1337 to 1344 Oxford scholar William Merle made the first systematic climatological recordings. In 1692 the English weekly newspaper, A Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, provided readers with pressure readings, wind speeds and a comparison to previous years' weather. In England, The Monthly Weather Paper was the first journal attempting to predict weather. With the use of the telegraph, the British Meteorological Office issued daily predictions in 1861. For the first time on November 1, 1870, weather observations were logged at 24 sites in the United States and telegraphed to Washington, DC, to prepare a national weather map. In closing, botanists believe there is no certainty as to why leaves turn red but have discovered that the red of the leaf may be a sunscreen or a death threat for hungry insects. World News Tonight reported that in Autumn, leaves break down to prepare for winter. When leaves lose their green scientists believe it’s a dangerous time for leaves to be exposed to sunlight. Leaf cells are very fragile and when photons from the sun hit the leaves they are absorbed by the red. Experiments in Wisconsin have found that the leaf is protected because it is red and keeps producing food into November. Some trees also make poisons that kill aphids and the red leaf deters the insects.
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