Meteorological Observations

  • H. Howard Frisinger
Part of the Meteorological Monographs book series (METEOR)


The development of the instruments discussed in the preceding chapters was necessary to overcome the impediment which had developed in the fifteenth century to the evolution of scientific meteorology. The advent of the thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, etc., as scientific instruments, opened the way for a more comprehensive study of the atmosphere.


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    Logarithms had been first invented in 1614 by John Napier. For a thorough account of the history of logarithms, see Cargill G. Knott, Napier memorial volumes (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1915).Google Scholar
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    Halley, op. cit., p. 109. The development by Halley of this formula can be summarized in modem mathematical notation as follows: by Boyle’s Law pv = constant = 30 x 900 (Halley’s constant). Thus, the cylinder of air reaching from sea-level to the place where the barometric reading is h, is \(\begin{array}{*{20}{c}} {\int {vdp = \int_h^{30} {(30 \times 900)\frac{{dp}}{p}} = [(30 \times 900)\log p]} \int_h^{30} {} } \\ { = 30 \times 900 \times (\log 30 - \log h)} \end{array}\) Changing from natural to common logarithms, by dividing by the modulus 0.434295, and by simplifying, Halley’s formula is obtained.Google Scholar
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    Halley, op. cit., p. 109.Google Scholar
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    Later in this work by Halley, he attempts to explain the reasons for the changes in the barometric readings at sea-level.Google Scholar
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    See H. Howard Frisinger, “Mathematicians in the History of Meteorology: The Pressure-Height Problem,” Historia Mathematica 1 (1974): 263–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Meteorological Society 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Howard Frisinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityUSA

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