Students and researchers will find the American County Histories a treasure trove of detailed information and recollections on weather and climate of a particular region. Disasters that a region has suffered, especially violent storms, extended weather patterns and other natural disasters are well documented in these histories.
Explorers, missionaries, sea captains, and settlers maintained climate and weather records – to determine favorable winds, for agricultural reasons, to know when inland waterways were usable, to prepare for settlement, and more.
The excerpt below highlights observations on the climate in the Hawaiian Islands by a New England missionary and member of the American Oriental Society. His first-hand observations provide a unique look at Hawaiian weather, including temperature changes, rainfall, climatic changes in terms of elevation, Hawaiian folklore names for winds, and more.
The climate is salubrious, and possesses a remarkable evenness of temperature, so much so that the language has no word to express the general idea of weather. Remarkable changes, such as a severe storm, or long periods of rain, which on the more populous portions are of rare occurrence, only attract notice. Situated in the midst of the Pacific, the heat produced by a tropical sun is mitigated by the breezes which blow over the wide expanses of ocean, and the shores on either side show but little difference in the results of the thermometer. Physiologists give a certain point of temperature as most conducive to health and longevity. The mean heat of these islands approaches near to it, and is highly favorable to the full development and perfection of animal economy.