Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Cooperative Observers"

Lovecraft was obviosuly in a special program for meteorological observations. So, Lovecraftians, I shall not try to reproduce the entire document, but give the reference only (click on the title above) and some excerpts below.

From the governent text, two things become obvious. Lovecraft needed Munroe (or someone) to help him, and some but not all of the equipment must have been loaned to him by the US Government. In 1915 there were 4500 observers, and so Lovecraft was definitely in the elite group - and as early as 14.

Lovecraft was not playing scientist, but was doing applied science. As point in fact, NOAA notes: From Nov. 1899 through Jan. 1932, daily weather observations were submitted from Tuskegee, Alabama, on government Form 1009 as part of the Cooperative Observer Program. Most of these daily observations were handwritten and signed by George Washington Carver!

Here are highlights, however from the 1915 copy of the document.


{About 10 years after Lovecraft began his observations, sorry}

Introduction 5
I. Instructions for the erection and care of instruments 6
The object of temperature readings and exposure of thermometers 6
General description of thermometers 8
Instructions for reuniting detached columns of alcohol 10
Instructions for mounting maximum and minimum thermometers 14
The rain gage 17
How to measure rainfall and snowfall 19
General instructions about instruments 21

II. Making and recording observations 22
Temperature records 23
Precipitation records 24
Miscellaneous phenomena 25
Nomenclature 27

Form 1009, meteorological, sample monthly record 29

The object of this pamphlet is to furnish cooperative observers with brief instructions for their guidance in taking and recording meteorological observations ... To render these observations of the greatest value and to facilitate their use in investigating questions relating to chmate, it is important that a uniform system for the exposure of the instruments and the recording of the observations be adopted.

There are at this writing about 4,500 cooperative observers in the
United States. The records furnished by these observers are of great value ... it is the policy of the bureau to foster and encourage the keeping of such records. ... Besides the records mentioned above the observers furnish reports that form in part the basis of the National Weather and Crop Bulletin ... The cooperative observer who each day faithfully records the readings of his instruments and notes the meteorological conditions prevailing at ... station is performing a valuable public service.

The publications in which his records appear are constantly consulted by
persons in practically every walk of life, seeking information regard-
ing climatic conditions from the most authoritative sources.

Cooperative observers receive no money compensation for their
, but they regularly receive such of the pubUcations of the
Weather Bureau as can be furnished free of cost.

A member of the observer's family, or other competent person, should be fully instructed in the matter of taking and recording observations, so that no break in the record will result from the temporary absence of the observer or from his inability from any cause to make the necessary observations. {Munroe?}

For the purpose of securing the observations necessary to meet the requirements of those entitled to such information, the Chief of the Weather Bureau is authorized by law to loan instruments to persons willing to take their observations, on certain conditions. These conditions, in the main, are the safe-keeping of the instruments, their return to the Weather Bureau if for any reason the station is discontinued, and the furnishing of copies of the observations to the section director ...

... Cooperative observers are usually furnished with maximum and minimum thermometers, instrument shelters, and rain gages, but not with barometers, wind vanes, or anemometers; nor will instruments be suppUed when the proposed station is considered too near others aheady established.

{Lovecraft had this equipment, so somehow it was purchased by others, or himself at a great expense.}

Blank forms and franked envelopes are furnished free of expense to the observers for transmitting reports to the section centers. // Observers willing to furnish the local press with meteorological data for pubUcation wiU be suppUed with suitable postal-card forms, properly addressed, upon appUcation to the section director.

{One suspects that this data was sent by Lovecraft to the newspapers he was associated with}

The cooperative observer is requested to fill up and forward to the
section center, as soon as the equipment is installed, a copy of Form
No. 4029 Mis.

47. Observations desired. — It is requested that cooperative observers
make and record, daily, observations of the maximum and minimum
temperatures; precipitation (rainfall or snowfall); the state of the
weather — that is, the general character of the day from sunrise to
sunset; and such other miscellaneous phenomena as frost, coronas,
thunderstorms, tornadoes, and am-oras.

Form 1009, furnished by the section centers, is arranged to facilitate
recording the data desired by the Weather Bureau.

48. Time of making observations. — But one observation in each
24 hours is necessary on the part of cooperative observers, since the
average of the readings of the maximum and minimum thermometers
gives an approximately correct mean temperature for the day.

Uniformity as to time of taking observations is desired. A definite
hour should be determined upon and the observations made each day
as near that hour as possible. About sunset is recommended as the
most satisfactory time for making the record, as the thermometers
will then, except under unusual conditions, register both the maxi-
mum and the minimum temperatures for the day. The time at which
observations are taken should invariably be noted on Form No. 1009.

49. Form 1009, meteorological monthly record.

{As thunderstorms are most notable on his 1906 report... see instructions below}


61. Frost, — Occurrence of first and last frost of the growing season should be specially noted.

62. Coronas. — These must be distinguished from halos. Coronas are broad bands of light, very commonly seen around the moon, due to rays of light passing through a thin layer of cloud. ... A solar corona is not often visible, on account of the
dazzling brightness of the sun, but is may generally be seen by viewing the sun through colored glass, or noticing its reflection in water.

63. Halos ... arise from the presence in the atmosphere of minute prisms of ice, and are due to refraction of light. ... These are called "parhelia" or "paraselence" (mock suns or mock moons) , sometimes sun dogs.

64. Thunderstorms, — Thunderstorms 6 hours apart may be considered as separate storms.

Upon the occurrence of thunder, give as nearly as possible the times of first and loudest thimder and its duration, being careful to note if
a. m. or p. m.


This was not a trivial task, and Lovecraft was entrusted. This may easily explain why his teachers at Hope High School allowed him to come and go. He would have had to maintain these records EVEN WHEN HE WAS NOT IN SCHOOL. Whatever incapacitated him, he was able to maintain his schedule for three solid years or would have been terminated.

A survey of Lovecraft's intense activities indicate - or imply - that school was secondary to his own activities.

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