On July 4, 1776, he observed temperatures of 68oF at 6 a.m., 72oF at 9 a.m., 76oF at 1 p.m. and 73 oF at 9 p.m. This weather record spanned from 1776-1818 and also included temperature observations at Monticello and his country retreat home Poplar Forest, along with notations on the direction and speed of the wind and the amount of precipitation. He shared his records with others, envisioning a Cooperative Weather Observation program. During the 40-year span, Jefferson established observers in every county of Virginia and in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and North Carolina.
A renowned scientist, Benjamin Franklin was one of the first to observe that North American storms tend to move from west to east, and he predicted that a storm's course could be plotted. He even made some of the first-recorded weather forecasts in his Poor Richard's Almanac, a 25-year publication that Franklin first published in 1732 under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders.
In addition to his meteorological prowess, Franklin also published the first scientific chart of the North Atlantic's Gulf Stream. He hypothesized that the Gulf Stream is caused by trade winds driving warm waters into the Gulf of Mexico, where they exit by way of the Florida Strait. In 1775, on his way to England, Franklin lowered a thermometer into the Atlantic and found the Gulf Stream to be 6° F warmer than the surrounding sea; subsequently, he produced the first chart of the current.
Weathercasting is the subject of a Library webcast by Bob Ryan, chief meteorologist at NBC4 (WRC-TV). He discusses not only the history of meteorology but also the science and technology behind predicting the weather.
The Library's webcast site features many other webcasts on science and technology, including such subjects as neuroscience, nutrition, astronomy and gardening.