Scientific data collection of weather did not really
begin until the mid 1800's. Few people collected information associated
with maps, time, and date. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
in the 1840's began a systematic retrieval of data by providing
scientific instruments (i.e., thermometers) to people throughout the
United States. The program grew and the data was collected for almost 20
years. When the Civil War broke out in the United States, the program
was dismantled and the Signal Corp of the U.S. took up weather
monitoring, especially since weather was important in war. However, the
military did not collect scientific data, so the United States Weather
Bureau of the Department of Agriculture was born in 1891. They trained
people to read instruments and collect data throughout the country.
Today there are many government, research, and
private groups collecting data. The instrumentation is more
sophisticated and can continuously record weather conditions and send
data continuously using satellites. The internet can provide people data
from around the world on many web sites.