Whether one works in an office or on a farm, drives or walks to get around, and lives in town or the countryside, everyone seems to care a great deal about the weather. That’s likely the case in Gardiner, too, where so many people enjoy the great outdoors all year round. And it’s certainly true for staff at the Mohonk Preserve’s Daniel Smiley Research Center.
For 113 years there has never been a question of where we’ll be every day between 4 and 5 pm: we’ll be checking the weather. This daily ritual has been carried out since the Mohonk Lake Cooperative Weather Station was established by the National Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) in 1896. At the end of March, 2009, we will have completed observations of temperature and precipitation for nearly 41,400 days!
Albert K. Smiley proudly became the first Volunteer Observer of the weather station. Three generations of Smiley family members subsequently served as official Observers, including Daniel Smiley for over 50 years until his death in the 1980s. Our weather information—collected uninterrupted over time, and in the same location using the same or standard issue equipment and methods—provides a unique record of weather conditions. In turn, these long-term data are used by regional, national, and international scientists to investigate such critical environmental concerns as climate change and the links between temperature and plant growth and wildlife survival. For example, our records show that nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1990 and average annual rain and snowfall levels are steadily rising.
As a public service, the Preserve provides the monthly weather report to local residents and visitors. (It is also supplied to the National Weather Service and the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.) Check it out at www.mohonkpreserve.org/index.php?weatherdata, and be sure to get outside and enjoy the weather!