Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/815

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795
A CHAPTER IN METEOROLOGICAL DISCOVERY.

not establish the fact that certain storms travel from the Gulf along the coast; how the observations of Franklin, confirmed by the general impression that they were sagacious, can be reconciled with those made by Loomis (locating the place of origin of some storms in the Northwest of the United States), unless there be two kinds of storms, one of which travels from southwest to northeast and the other from northwest to southeast; and whether it can be correct to confound these two kinds of storms under one generalization—i. e., storms moving from east to west." Of course, these slight strictures did not seriously affect the validity of Espy's conclusions, any more than they added materially to the sum of Redfield's. They simply helped to bring all the facts now discovered into relation, and take the emphasis off any especial class, the peculiar study of individuals. They show how valuable are all individual contributions to the growth of a science, and how, when there is a number of observers in any one field, each may be a check upon the others and supplement their defective data or inferences. Redfield discovered the origin of one class of storms, and laid down the laws of their movement and internal motions. Espy pointed out a new point of origin of storms, and threw some new light on their internal winds. Hare pointed to still another quarter whence these great whirlwinds arise, and directed attention to the various tracks which they pursue; and the investigations which led to these results extend over a term of perhaps thirty years, from the year 1821 to 1851.

Elias Loomis.—It was about this period that Prof. Loomis, of Yale College, was prosecuting his studies in meteorology, and especially in regard to storm-motions, which have since become a valuable part of our knowledge. He was a later worker in this field, and his labors were made the more valuable from the fact that the country had been growing rapidly, especially toward the Northwest, and he was thus enabled to command much new material in the way of observations from this quarter of the country, which had not been available for the others. Loomis found that great storms, of like character to those reported from the southwest and the Atlantic coast, also swept the northern parts of the country, with identical details, in respect to winds and motions. These were included in his studies, and thus the generalizations in respect to our storms were greatly enlarged. Perhaps the gist of Loomis's conclusions in this matter is condensed into this paragraph from his Meteorology, which, by the way, was the first treatise of any pretensions upon this subject published in this country. He says: "The average direction of storm-paths across the United States is toward a point nine degrees north of east, but it varies somewhat with the season of the year, being almost exactly east in summer and inclining more to the north in the