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affected by a damaging lack of rain. An extended drought, such as has been experienced this summer, may not be known again on this continent for a century, but, bad as it has been, few would exchange it for the wet seasons, and consequent bad harvests, Great Britain experiences every

few years.


HEAT AND DRY WEATHER IN EUROPE. In Europe nearly every country has been affected, and the intense heat which has prevailed here was also felt there. In Switzerland the peasants had to look to their vintage, which promised an unusual yield, to repair the losses to grain through the long drought. In Italy great heat combined with the usual dryness of summer to wither the vegetation and increase the mortality. At Naples, in the end of August, the mercury reached 98° in the shade, a higher temperature than had been known in twenty-one years. At Rome 101° were reached. France and parts of Russia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany also report drought and heat, though not of a very serious nature.



In Britain, strange to say, the drought of the earlier part of the season was such that with the usual heat of a Canadian summer the harvest would have been a total failure. As little as 0.96 of an inch of rain, or less than a quarter of an inch per month, is reported for the four months April to July, inclusive. Although in July in a spell of a few days the mercury went up to 93o at Greenwich, the summer, as usual, was not very warm, and consequently the small rainfall was sufficient to produce an unusual promise for harvest. The farmers were jubilant, but down came the August rains, and when Canada and the United States were anxiously, waiting for the rain which a brazen sky refused to drop, and were sweltering among the nineties and hundreds, Britain was


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Midday temperatures for weeks were below 60°, and in the great wheatcounties the thermometer often fell below 40°, and on one occasion to within half a degree of the freezing-point. The August rainfall at London was 5.50 inches, and ample atonement was made for the drought.

Such conditions as the foregoing, according to Mr. Vennor, indicate a rather severe winter for England, Ireland, and Scotland.-Pubs.


At least the elements of astronomy should be taught in our schools. There probably never was a time in the world's history when the stars were less considered, and there certainly never was one when more nonsense was talked about them. Several city publications used the word “perihelion” for the late conjunction of planets. “Perihelion” is a very good word, but a perihelion is not a conjunction. A perihelion means the point at which a planet or comet is nearest the sun; a conjunction means that two or more heavenly bodies are in the same direction from the earth, and are consequently grouped together in the sky. During the past summer a

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very absurd statement was telegraphed from the other side of the world, and appeared in the papers all over this continent, to the effect that a French astronomer had announced that the comet would reach its apogee that night, and would thenceforth grow smaller. The savant must have said its perigee—that is, the point at which it is nearest to the earth-and not its apogee, the point at which it is farthest from the earth, by no means


a favorable one for the observation of comets, which are visible only at the very near points of their orbits. A mere smattering of astronomy or a few lessons in Greek would have placed correspondents and journalists generally beyond committing such a mistake.




THE difference between a cyclone and a tornado is defined by Mr. Wil. liam Ferris, of the United States Coast Survey, to be this : A cyclone is usually a broad, flat, gyrating disc of atmosphere, very much greater in width than in altitude; a tornado is a column of gyrating air, the altitude of which is several times greater than its diameter. Cyclones are born of conditions extending over large areas; tornadoes depend rather upon the vertical relations of the atmosphere, and occur when, owing to local changes of temperature, the under strata of air burst up through the overlying strata. The enormous velocities of the ascending currents of tornadoes are supposed to be caused by the difference between the gyrating velocities above and those on the surface. It is these ascending currents which carry up the vast bodies of water afterward precipitated in the form of a deluge of rain. The water is sometimes kept from falling by the ascending currents, and is often projected outside the area of the tornado, when it falls in a gentle shower over a larger area. When the weight of the water overbears the force of the ascending currents, there occurs the tremendous fall of rain known as a cloud-burst. When the area of a tornado is very small, a land-spout or a water-spout may

be formed, according as it is over land or water. The width of these spouts ranges between two feet and two hundred, and their height from thirty to fifteen hundred feet. A white squall is an invisible spout, formed when the dew-point is low. The accompanying cloud is invisible because of its height, but below there is a raging and boiling sea, with the gyrating current of air above it. Land-spouts and water-spouts are hollow.

VENNOR'S “cold wave" appears to have arrived on time in some sections, though this section was “left out in the heat.” The New York Star of the 18th inst. (Aug., 1881) says: “The Star begs to assure Mr. Vennor of its distinguished consideration. The cold wave arrived on schedule-time, according to his prediction. The cold wave did not visit this neighborhood alone. Throughout the whole country from Maine to Texas there has been a general fall in the temperature. In this city the thermometer marked 58° at 6 A. M. At noon it had only risen 7°, and at 3.30 P. M. it touched its highest point, 66o.”


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That the moon does exert an influence over weather-changes is most firmly believed in by “ the people" of the present day, has always been believed in by those of past generations, and, expound as meteorologists and astronomers may to their utmost notwithstanding, will be believed in up to the end of time by the majority of the world's inhabitants. And why so? Mainly through the power and hold on the people of “old saws" relating to the weather in times past. These undoubtedly originated in the constant recurrence of certain conditions of the weather in proximity to certain changes of the moon, these last the more noticeable from the fact of their being ever held before the people through the almanacs of the day. And I must confess that, to my way of reasoning, there is a fair value to be attached to these old and perpetuated “saws or sayings. For had any one or more in particular of these failed in times past to any considerable extent—as undoubtedly many hundreds have done—these would ere now have disappeared from the list to-day quoted from.

The originators of such sayings knew nothing whatever of the relationship of the moon to the weather beyond what appeared to them to exist in some one or other of its particular phases; consequently, their statements alone have but little weight. The continuance of these, however, through a century and more is, on the other hand, a telling point in their favor. Meteorologists, as is often quoted, have " long ago pointed out there is no foundation for this fanciful lunar rule;" but we have often noticed that meteorologists are and have been mistaken in their statements on kindred points. In the field of science it does not always answer to be too positive respecting pet theories. In geology and zoology the work and lifetime results of one zealous worker are oftentimes overthrown and scattered to the winds by a succeeding and still more accurate observer; and so in meteorology and astronomy. Professor Proctor, the learned and profound astronomer—but of doubtful repute as a weather-prognosticator—in an article recently appearing in the press ridicules the efforts of “ Tice and Vennor,” using language that would appear to imply an existing bitterness in the writer's mind as touching the notoriety attained by these individuals, although he is entirely ignorant respecting the systems upon which their labors are based. The world is large, Professor Proctor, and wide enough for many more laborers in the field which you have chosen. Advancement is now the cry of the age, and as you and others, after the labor and heat of the day, retire from active service, other and younger spirits will enter the arena, and with unsparing hand scatter your pet theories to the winds, rearing up in their place a structure from which to-day you would turn with derision. With such a prospect in view, then, let no earnest worker in the cause of science waste his strength and precious moments in attempting to pull down the work of his fellow-laborers, for they may be right and he wrong, but rather devote his fresh life and energies to the perfecting of that which he has laid out for himself, remembering always that “ life is short” and “that the night cometh when no man can work."

In this light stands the “moon question.” Many good men uphold it, while perhaps by about as many it is ridiculed. Herschel believed in it, and his table based upon the moon's changes is still generally used, and, I may add, found as correct as any yet constructed. Personally, I never regard the moon in any light-save moon-light occasionally, and as recreation simply—in constructing my probabilities for approaching weather; but I do not oppose what many other observers claim in connection with it. In fact, I do not hesitate to state that in many cases in which my particular system works doublfully relative to the changes of the weather on particular dates, the changes of the moon might be studied and used advantageously. Finally, it is my firm conviction that no one at present can pronounce positively on either side of this question. We do not know; that is the long and short of it. New truths, however, are yearly being brought to light, and possibly ere the publication of another Almanac this interesting problem will have been solved. The following will be found of interest in this connection:


The Albany Argus in August of 1880 thus refers to “ a wet moon :" “ The weather last month setiled the question as to what position of the new moon indicates a wet moon. It has been said that when the moon stands up straight, so the Indian can't hang his powder-horn on it,' it is a sign of approaching wet, the sliding off of the imaginary powder-horn being supposed to indicate a dripping from the clouds. On the other hand, it is claimed that the upright position of the new moon indicates a dry moon, as the inability of the Indian to hang his powder-horn on it was a sign that he could with safety take it and his rifle to the woods and pursue the chase. The position of the new moon last month (July, 1880) was an upright one; so the Indian couldn't have hung his powder-horn on it; and it most certainly was a 'wet moon.' The wicked generation that seeketh after a sign may now understand, once for all, that when

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