By William B. Meyer
This revealing ebook synthesizes learn from many fields to supply the 1st whole background of the jobs performed by means of climate and weather in American existence from colonial instances to the current. writer William B. Meyer characterizes climate occasions as impartial phenomena which are inherently neither risks nor assets, yet can develop into both counting on the actions with which they have interaction. Meyer files the ways that other forms of climate all through background have represented dangers and assets not just for such uncovered outside objectives as agriculture, struggle, transportation, building, and game, yet for different geographical regions of existence starting from production to migration to human well-being. He issues out that whereas the elements and weather by way of themselves have by no means made up our minds the process human occasions, their value as been regularly altered for greater and for worse via the evolution of yank existence.
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22 In the end, the surprising differences in the American climate from what had been expected had little impact on the ways in which the colonies developed. The economy of the northern settlements rested on a mixed grain and livestock agriculture supplemented by fishing and seafaring and small manufactures. It differed more in detail—a larger role for maize and wheat, for example—than in character from that of England. The seaboard South indeed specialized, precisely as foreseen, in high-value cash crops for export, if not the same ones it was expected to grow at the outset.
Rivers might fall too low for navigation in drought or be difficult to navigate as well as to ford when in flood. 43 A coastal or riverine location exposed towns to floods and storms. 44 New Orleans suffered even more. Politics in the early eighteenth century seemed to dictate the establishment of a French settlement on the low flatlands commanding the mouth of the Mississippi River, where climate and terrain seemed to veto it. Politics won, and floods from above, hurricanes from the Gulf, and fevers in the hot months became more destructive than before, having more around them to destroy.
57 The need to satisfy other, conflicting wants never permitted Americans to obey all of the demands of the climate, whatever they might be thought to be. From some simple and ingenious experiments on the re- 32 Americans and Their Weather lations of colors to heat, Franklin showed "that black Cloaths are not so fit to wear in a hot Sunny Climate or Season as white ones," but the knowledge that it was so was not enough to make black and white uniform wear for winter and summer respectively. Colors had other meanings besides their thermal qualities, and clothes were not designed with the sole or the chief aim of snug protection from the elements, even—perhaps especially—among those best able to afford it.
Americans and Their Weather by William B. Meyer