This winter has certainly been one for the history books when it comes to weather—it is a rare event indeed for Chicago to be colder than the North Pole! Weather data is fascinating, but knowing where to go to find historical data can be tricky.
Luckily, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information exists to preserve and provide public access to the Nation’s weather data and information! Their site has an impressive digital archive of historical climatological data publications, with access to series such as Climatological Data, Storm Data, Hourly Precipitation Data, Monthly Climatic Data for the World, Local Climatological Data, and more.
The Weather Bureau’s Climatological Data series, for example, is a monthly publication with an annual edition as well. The monthly issues contain tables of daily maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation amounts at over 8000 weather stations all across the nation, while the annual gives an overview of the year, including temperature extremes and freeze data. They are issued by state, and date all the way back to 1884!
These could be used to find out what the weather was like a hundred years ago today, on days of historical significance, on the day you were born, or more. Most fascinating, don’t you think?