CLIMATE, TEMPERATURE, RAIN, SNOW OF NORTHERN
Compiled from Cook's Geology, 1881.
THE earliest printed notice of the climate of New
Jersey is in "A description of the province of New
Albion, etc. published in 1648." The following extract from it is here given"
That the name New Albion was then applied to New Jersey, appears
in a letter of Robert Evelin which was included in the same pamphlet.
We extract : "But nevertheless to satisfie you of the truth, I thought
good to write unto you my knowledge and first to describe you from the
north side of Delaware unto Hudson's River in Sir Edmond's patent, called
New Albion, which lieth just between New England and Mary land, and
that ocean sea, I take it to be about 160 miles."-Smith's History of
New Jersey, pp. 27-28.
Whereas that part of America or North Virginia, lying about 39
degrees on Delaware bay, called the province of New Albion, is situated
in the best and same temperature as Italy, between too cold Germany,
and too hot Barbary ; so this lying just midway between New England
200 miles and Virginia 130 miles south, where now are settled 8,000
English, and 140 ships in trade, is freed from the extreme cold and barreness of the one, and heat and aguish marshes of the other, and is
like Lumbardy, and a rich fat soil, plain, and having thirty-four rivers
on the main land, seventeen great Isles, and partaketh of the healthiest
aire and most excellent commodities of Europe, and replenished with the
goodliest woods of oaks and all timber for ships and masts, mulberries,
sweet cypress, cedars, pines and firres, four sorts of grapes for wines
and raisins, and with the greatest variety of choice fruits, fish and
fowl, stored with all sorts of corn, yeelding five, seven, and ten quarters
From the account of Thomas Rudyard, a deputy
governor of East Jersey, written in 1683, we extract
the following paragraph descriptive of that province:
This description is as pertinent to-day as it could
have been two hundred years ago.
As for the temperature of the air, it is wonderfully situated to the
humors of mankind; the wind and weather rarely holding one point or
one kind, for ten days together; it is a rare thing for vessels to be wind
bound for a week together, the wind seldom holding in a point more
than forty-eight hours; and in a short time we have wet and dry, warm
and cold weather.
In Thomas Budd's "Good Order Established it
Pennsylvania and New Jersey in America," printer
in 1685, there is the following:
Climate has been defined to be that peculiar state
of the atmosphere) in regard to heat and moisture,
which prevails in any given place, together with the
meteorological conditions generally, in so far as they
exert an influence on vegetable and animal life
Practically, all its phases may be traced, either
directly or indirectly, to the sun. It is the greal
source of all terrestrial heat so far as life on our globe
is concerned. In consequence of the earth's spheroidal shape, and the inclination of the plane of it,
equator to that of the elliptic, the sun's rays do not
everywhere fall vertically upon its surface, but at
different angles at different places, and at different
seasons of the year in the same place. Accordingly
as they are more nearly vertical, they traverse a less
thickness of the atmosphere and a greater number of
them fall upon a given area. Hence, other thing
being equal, the more such a surface will receive
From this varying inclination of the sun's rays
comes our word climate, through the Greek verb
which means to incline. In the equatorial zone of
belt, the sun's rays strike the surface vertically, but
as we go thence towards either pole, they are more
inclined, and, consequently, the distance from the
equator, or latitude, is the most important element it
the consideration of the climate of any country
And, if there were no others, we should have what
have been called solar climates, that is, parallel zone.
of the earth's surface decreasing in temperature from
the equator to the poles. Any map with isothermal
shows at a glance, however, that the lines of equal
heat do not follow the parallels of latitude, but differ
widely from them. Thus, the western coast of
Norway enjoys a milder climate than that of our
middle Atlantic States, although there is a difference
of 20° of latitude between them. The Western of
Pacific coast of our country has its mild winters and
cool summers, as compared with our greater extreme,
on the Atlantic coast.
"The dayes in the winter are about two hours longer, and in the
summer two hours shorter than in England; the summer somewhat hotter
which causeth the fruits and corn somewhat to ripen faster than in
England, and the harvest for Wheat, Rye and Barley being about the
latter end of June. In the winter season it is cold and freezing weather
and sometimes snow, but commonly very clear and sunshine, which
soon dissolves it.
The winter temperature of Reykjavik, in Iceland
in latitude 64°, is 29° Fahrenheit, or above that of the
Highlands. The northern limit of the beach o
'Norway is about 60° north latitude, whereas it
British America it does not extend beyond the 50th
parallel. Examples could be multiplied indefinitely
showing like variations.
The climate of Northern New Jersey, or so much
bloom out of doors the whole year, while at London
and in the interior, there are frosts and snows. These
are examples of oceanic and insular climates.
It would seem as if in the interior there was an
interchange of the torrid and arctic zones, and that
our north temperate zone partakes somewhat of the
extremes of both of them; or, in other words, we
have a sub-tropical summer and an arctic winter,
although the general influence of the ocean waters is
to produce an equable climate, that at any given locality is somewhat determined by the nature of the
currents off the shore and the direction of the prevailing winds. The latter may help in carrying
inland the warmth of the equatorial waters, or, if
they come from land surfaces, they may counteract and
neutralize the moderating influences of warm currents.
The atmosphere, like the ocean, is traversed by
currents, and cold air, like cold water, is denser than
warm, and consequently there is a constant circulation air currents which sweep over vast areas of the
globe, carrying with them heat from the equatorial to
temperate zones, and the warmth gathered from ocean
currents, far inland. Wherever the prevailing winds
come from water areas, they bring with them the
equalizing effects of water, and the equable climate
of ocean or insular locations are thus felt further inland than in those islands or coast localities which
are on the sides of continents opposite to the prevailing wind quarter. The popular "cold waves"
are the transference of great bodies of cold air from
west to east across our continent, through the agency
of the prevailing land currents. These westerly
winds, in the summer, bring us the heated air of the
southwest. Thus they serve to intensify our extremes
of temperature, by excessive heat in summer and
severe cold in winter. The measured effects of these
air currents, as recorded by the thermometer in the
following tables, are often sudden and very considerable. Changes in temperature of 63° in forty-one
hours have been recorded in Texas, and in Essex
County recently there was a change in temperature of
over 40° in seventeen hours, due to a "cold wave"
from the west.
The excellence of some solid bodies, like sand and
some rock, to arrest heat, is well known. They are
easily warmed, and almost as readily part with their
heat. This peculiarity of the solid mass of the
earth's surface, as distinguished from the water, explains the intense heat of such surfaces when exposed to the vertical rays of the sun, and the rapid
radiation of the heat during the night, produces
extreme cold. Hence the alternations of temperature by day and by night are much greater in the
surface layers of the land than in that of the waters.
But there is a great variation in the nature of the
surface, and its effects upon the climate, or upon the
superincumbent air stratum, are as diverse as its
nature. Hence widespread sandy plains are more
heated than rich, fertile lands which are covered by
luxuriant crops. This more intensely heated surface
heats the layer of air in contact with it, and induces
a circulation so as to allow a cooler stratum to take its
turn in being heated.
The surface covering of grasses and grains serves to
protect it from the fierce rays of the sun, and also to
shield it from the cold of winter, Trees intercept by
their thick foliage the sun's rays, and by their shade
protect the soil. Their leaf-mould and the natural
undergrowth still further protect the earth, so that
often the ground remains unfrozen in the woods,
when in adjacent fields or open spaces the frost penetrates deeply. The covering of trees acts therefore
as a screen against sun and wind, and serves to maintain a more even temperature in the soil. The forest
also serves as a wind-break or screen, and winds are
not so violent as they otherwise would be, and the
general influence of the forests is to make the temperature more even; to retain the moisture of the
soil longer; to arrest and condense rain-giving clouds,
and hold the rains and snow longer in and on the
surface, and to produce a more equable and moist
The following tables give the temperature and con-
dition of weather, as kept by the late Mr. William
A. Whitehead, of Newark, from 1843 to 1880, a
period of thirty-eight years:
Year. || Mean Temperature. || Series.
Latitude ||Longitude ||Altitude|| Mean Annual Temperature || Maximum || Minimum || Range for year ||Spring ||Summer ||Autumn|| Winter || Beginning ||Ending ||Yrs. ||Mos. ||Observer.
Jersey City || 40°43' ||74°03' ||20 ||32.86 ||99.50 || 5.70 ||105.2 ||49.66|| 74.93 ||54.96 ||31.86 ||Jany.,1871|| Dec., 1878|| 6 ||7 || T. T. Howard, Jr., and F. S. Cook
Bloomfield || 40°48' ||74°12' ||120|| 50.87 ||102.00 ||16.00|| 118.0|| 46.99|| 71.39|| 54.15 ||30.94 ||Mch., 1849 ||Dec., 1862 ||10|| 7 || R. S. Cook and A. Merrick
Newark ||40°40' ||74°10'|| 35|| 50.52 ||99.75|| 12.75||112.5 ||48.30|| 71.27 ||52.59 ||29.92|| May, 1843 ||Dec., 1880|| 37|| 8 ||William A. Whitehead.
East Orange || 40°46' ||74°12'|| 160
|| 99.00 ||4.00 ||103.0||. . || 73.84 ||53.50 ||. .||June, 1877|| Sept., 1879 ||2 ||1|| Thomas T. Howard, Jr.
Orange || 40°47'|| 74°13' || 185 || 51.57|| 99.00 || 2.00 || 101.0|| 47.96 || 74.56 || 53.16|| 30.62 || Jany., 1872 || Dec., 1874|| 2 || 9 || Dr. W.H. Stockwell
South Orange || 40°45'|| 74°15 || 140|| 50.46 || 101.00|| 22.00 || 123.0 || 48.55 || 71.85 || 51.62|| 29.84|| Sept., 1870 || Dec., 1880 || 10|| 3 || Dr. William .T. Chandler
CLIMATE OF NEWARK, 1843-1880. FROM RECORD KEPT BY WM. A. WHITEHEAD.
|| Maximum Temperature.|
| Minimum Temperature.|
| Range of Temperature for Period.|| Mean Temperature|
| Mean Temperature|
Greatest Number of Days on Which Temperature was 32°and below
Greatest Number of Days on Which Temperature was 32°and upwards
Range of of Fair Days|
|Range of of Fair Days|
Rainy Days |
| Number Rainy Days |
Days of Snow.|
|Days of Snow.|
Average Number of Fair Days||
Percentage of Fair Days||
Range of Dry Periods (Days)|
Range of Dry Periods (Days)|
65.00 ||37.00 ||15.50 ||12.50|| 77.70 ||37.64 ||19.33 ||22||. . .||
21 ||13|| 11 ||
1 ||17.00|| 55 ||15||
68.50 ||44.70|| 15.25 ||8.00 ||76.50|| 36.99 ||21.86|| 18||
. . .||21 ||12 ||11 ||
1 ||13 ||
2 ||16.50 ||58|| 14 ||
77.25 ||50.00|| 26.00 ||2.00|| 75.25 ||46.17 ||30.23||
7 ||. . .||
23|| 13 ||16||
1 ||18.00 ||58 ||16 ||
85.50 ||62.25|| 40.00 ||17.00 ||68.50|| 55.55 ||41.48|| . . .. . .
23|| 12 ||13 ||
. . . ||
54.72 ||. . .||
25 ||12 ||17 ||5 ||2 ||. . . ||18.70 ||60 ||14 ||4
June|| 97.00 ||84.00|| 57.50|| 38.25|| 58.75|| 73.70 ||60.25 ||. . . ||11|| 26 ||15|| 15 ||5 ||. . . ||. . . ||20.50 ||68|| 20|| 3
99.75 ||86.25 ||62.50 ||46.25 ||53.50 ||78.31|| 70.23|| . . . ||
25 ||14|| 15 ||
4 ||. . . ||. . .||
19.75 ||64 ||15 ||
99.00 ||83.75 ||60.00 ||46.76 ||52.25 ||74.75|| 67.30 ||. . . ||
26 ||14 ||15 ||
5|| . . . ||. . .||19.75 ||64|| 20 ||
September, 1881, maximum was 100.5°
|76.50 ||48.00|| 34.50|| 59.25|| 2|| 68.64|
September, 1881, mean was 73.72°
| 59.98 ||
September, 1881, 8.5° and upwards on 11 days
24|| 12 ||14 ||
. . . ||18.75 ||62|| 21 ||
83.00|| 67.00 ||35.75|| 22.25|| 60.75 ||59.40|| 48.61||
. . . ||24 ||12 ||12||
2 ||. . . ||18.00|| 58|| 29 ||
73.75|| 57.25|| 28.50 ||8.00 ||65.75|| 49.66|| 36.12 ||21 ||
. . .|| 22 ||10 ||. . .||15||
16.00|| 53|| 18 ||
68.50|| 42.00 ||22.75|| 7.50|| 76.00 ||40.31 ||23.81|| 28 ||. . . ||24 ||11 ||13|| 2|| 10|| 1|| 17.00 ||55|| 24|| 3
Rain and Melted Snow
Geology of New Jersey, by Prof. G. H. Cook.
The following is a
statement of the mean amount of precipitation of rain
and melted snow, for the periods and points named in
Essex and Hudson counties. The depth is given in
inches and fractions of inches for the average seasons,
and average per year.
- Jersey City, Spring, 11.34; Summer, 13.70; Autumn,
10.37; Winter, 8.81; per year, 44.220; from March,
1871, to March, 1877, by Thomas T. Howard, Jr.
Bloomfield, Spring, 11.34; Summer, 12.37; Autumn,
9.18; Winter, 9.49; per year, 42.380; from March,
1849, to December, 1862, by R. L. Cook.
- Newark, Spring, 11.71; Summer, 13.35; Autumn,
10.94; Winter, 10.68; per year, 46.217; from May,
1843, to December, 1880, by William A. Whitehead.
- East Orange, Spring, 11.11; Summer, 13.66; Autumn, 13.04; Winter, 9.15; per year, 46.960; from
June, 1877, to September, 1879, by Thomas T.
- Orange, Spring, 11.65; Summer, 15.58; Autumn,
12.47; Winter, 6.78; per year, 46.480; from January,
1872, to December, 1874, by Dr. W. H. Stockwell.
- South Orange, Spring, 10.17; Summer, 13.92;
Autumn, 10.90; Winter, 10.10; per year, 45.090;
from September, 1870, to December, 1880, by Dr.
William J. Chandler.
-The depth of snow is not given in the above
statement of rainfall, since it is melted, as so much
water or rain. The depth varies greatly from winter
to winter in different sections.
The measurements of Mr. Whitehead, at Newark,
range between six feet three inches in the winter of
1867-8, and one foot two inches in that of 1877-8;
and they give an average depth for thirty-seven
winters of forty inches. Referring to Mr. Whitehead's
Newark table, we find that the average number of
fair days in thirty-seven years was two hundred and
fifteen; of rainy days, ninety-five; of snowy days,
twenty-eight. By months, the highest average of
fair days was twenty and one-half, in June; and the
least, sixteen, in November.
Mr. Whitehead further said, "The year
1881 will ever be remembered for its remarkable
drought. The fall of rain in July was 1.34 inches,
the fall in August only 0.28, the fall in September
0.87, and the fall in October 2.23 inches, making a
total for four months of only 5.22 inches. The least
quantity for the corresponding months of any year
since 1843, inclusive, was 10.08 inches, in 1848; the
greatest, 34.28 inches, in 1843, the quantity in August
of that year, 22.485 inches, being unprecedented, and
the mean of the thirty-eight years, 17.028 inches."