Thomas Jefferson: Father of Weather Observers

As the main author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is regarded as one of this country’s Founding Fathers. He was also an astute and systematic weather observer.

For over 40 years, Jefferson kept a meticulous weather journal.  He recorded daily temperature data wherever he was – at home in Virginia or while traveling. In an effort to better understand the bigger picture of climate in America, he established a small network of fellow observers around Virginia as well as contacts in a few other states. According to records at Monticello, he hoped to establish a national network for weather observations. While this plan did not come to fruition during his lifetime, today’s National Weather Service considers him the “father of weather observers.”

On July 4, 1776, Jefferson was in Philadelphia, PA for the signing of the Declaration of Independence and noted that the high temperature for that now famous day was 76°F.

Happy 4th of July!