An Albuquerque Weather Wonk Treasure

Here’s a fun little bit of business to warm a weather wonk’s heart:

image from Powell's Arid Lands

That’s from John Wesley Powell’s 1878-79 Report on the lands of the arid region of the United States, and is the earliest climatic data from Albuquerque that I have ever run across. The data was collected by Charles Schott of the Smithsonian, who had been publishing national precipitation tables. He hurried up his new set of data, processing the western states first, so they could be included in Powell’s report. When I have some more time, I’ll blog more about the report. It’s a remarkable document in its insight into the problems of living in an arid land.

Compared to the current data, it’s a strikingly reasonable number for annual precipitation, given that it’s based on just a dozen years’ record. The seasonal distribution’s a bit out of whack, so the match for annual precipitation no doubt is just dumb luck.

I’ve read elsewhere that there was weather data collected here beginning in 1850. I’ll have to see if I can track it down.