Birth of the first weather report
James Glaisher was born in Rotherhead, London, England in 1809. Glaisher’s parents moved his family to historic Greenwich when he was very young, an observatory like a castle – the Royal Observatory stands in Greenwich Park surrounded by trees. When the 20-year-old Glaisher first stepped into the observatory, he was attracted by the various instruments in it. Little did the young Glaisher know that he would start out here and become famous all over the world.
After two years of topographic surveying work in the mountains of West Ireland, Glaisher returned to London, got a job as a mathematical calculator at the Observatory of Cambridge University, and met George Biddle, who was eight years older than himself. Airy. In 1835, after Airy was appointed as Royal Astronomer, he immediately transferred Glaisher back to the Royal Observatory, and began to carry out drastic reforms to the Observatory. This reform became an important turning point in Glaisher’s career. Since then, his talent began to blossom in meteorology.
As early as 1823, John Daniel criticized the rough and backward observation methods at that time in his “Essays on Meteorology”. Crude instruments, careless observation attitudes, and unplanned observation times make it difficult to guarantee the accuracy of meteorological data. The development of meteorology seems to have entered a bottleneck period. Twenty years later, Glaisher realized that the observatory had the same problem. In his view, improving data quality is the only key to breaking through the bottleneck.
Glaisher has been committed to finding more sophisticated observation instruments, and has customized special brackets for the instruments to ensure the consistency of the data at the same level and minimize the interference of the surrounding environment on the observation work as much as possible. Glaisher creatively made a schedule for daily observations. In the following days, he and his assistants strictly followed the plan to observe, accurately recording the changes in wind direction, wind force, cloud type, cloud coverage, and airflow. And weather data such as sunshine intensity.
Improvements in observation methods have greatly improved the quality of observatory observation data, but Glaisher knows that the data of a single station is still weak in the face of unpredictable weather. Glaisher didn’t stop there. With the development of the times, his desire to explore the weather became stronger.
Mathematical statistics gained general acceptance in the 1840s, when numbers and reasoning quantified facts were admired. Fascinated by numbers, Glaisher set out to study weather statistics. With the convenience of his position at the Greenwich Observatory, he continued to write and communicate with meteorological liaison officers in various places, and deliberately developed reliable participants to obtain more accurate and detailed meteorological data. In addition, Glaisher also used his spare time to carry the improved observation equipment with him, take the railway to visit liaison officers across the UK, record the latitude and longitude of observation stations around the country, assist them in maintaining the instrument, and demonstrate the method of reading data. In this way, with “passion like across the Atlantic”, Glaisher drew up a meteorological network dominating the British territory.
In May 1844, the “Illustrated London News” published a feature report on the newly built Slough Telegraph Station, which marked the breakthrough of electromagnetic telegraphy in Britain. The development of telegraph technology facilitated the development of meteorological communication network and made it possible to collect meteorological data in real time.
In the late summer of 1848, with “rainy and bad weather” threatening the farm’s crops, an editor at the Daily News wrote to Glaisher asking if he could provide some up-to-date weather information. Glaisher took this opportunity to offer newspapers a new and experimental weather service, drawing on his previously established meteorological network and developed telegraph technology. On August 31, 1848, the “Daily News” published the first weather report in human history. You can know the weather conditions of the whole country through the weather report published in Daily News.
Due to its novel and practical content, the weather report was not only frequently conveyed and discussed among the public, but also aroused enthusiastic responses from the scientific community, and even gave rise to the view that “it is likely to have great scientific value”. For a time, the entire scientific community set off an upsurge in meteorological research, and various meteorological research activities continued to emerge in various places. Since then, meteorology has entered the public eye, and topics and information about meteorology have been paid attention to and disseminated by more and more people.
On August 8, 1851, in Hyde Park in central London, Glaisher was invited to show the public his own weather map. Over the past two years, Glaisher has improved the weather report, drawing weather maps on the map based on the weather data on the report. This weather map contains information such as wind direction, pressure value, temperature, etc. For the first time, visitors to the exhibition saw the weather conditions of the whole country directly. The birth of the first weather report means that meteorology has opened a new chapter of attention. This is a great start. Today, many scientists and volunteers from all over the world are still devoted to the exploration, experimentation and research of meteorology with great enthusiasm. It is believed that more weather codes will be deciphered in the future.