Pat Shingleton: "Weather Readings, Leaf and Time Changes"
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. On November 1, 1870, for the first time, weather observations were logged at 24 sites in the United States and telegraphed to Washington, DC, to prepare a national weather map. From recordings to Autumn changes...Botanists are not certain why leaves turn red but have discovered that the red of the leaf may be a sunscreen or a death threat for hungry insects. Scientists believe Autumn leaves break down to prepare for winter. When leaves lose their green, they 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. In closing, it’s the first weekend in November and the last day of Daylight Saving Time. Congress decided in 2005 to extend D.S.T. by four weeks including three additional weeks in spring and one week in the Fall. The extra hour of sunlight ends Saturday night. In January, 1974, a year-round nationwide Daylight Saving Time was discontinued after an increase in early-morning school bus accidents. Other highlights include a $ 200 to $ 300 million increase in the golf industry due to a seven week extension of Daylight Saving Time in 1984. Some believe the twice-a-year shift can upset sleep patterns and research notes a significant jump in accidents on the first Monday following the change.