The Old Farmer's Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

An almanac is a calendar that uses astronomical information and weather data.

Almanacs list tide data, give the positions of the stars and forecast weather each day.

The most famous almanac is the Old Farmer’s Almanac which has been printed every year since 1792, on the first Tuesday in September for the following year.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America.

According to John Pierce, on his radio show called Talk of the Nation, to calculate the Almanac‘s weather predictions, Robert B. Thomas, the founder, studied solar activity,  astronomy cycles, and weather patterns.  According to the Los Angeles Times, he used his research to develop a secret forecasting formula, which is still in use today.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, few people have seen the weather forecasting formula.

The formula is kept in a black tin box at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.  There are a few hints that a person named Caleb Weatherbee knows the exact weather predicting formula the almanac uses.

Almanac forecasts place great importance on temperature and precipitation deviations from averages. The averages are based on 30-year statistical averages prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and updated every ten years. The most recent averages span the years 1971 through 2000.

While The Old Farmer’s Almanac has always looked to Thomas’s original formula to help with predictions, the current editors have made the forecasting methods better over the years. Today, observations of sunspots and other solar activity influence the forecast.

Current solar activity, historical weather conditions, and solar patterns help predict weather trends and events.

In 2008, The Old Farmer’s Almanac stated that the Earth had entered a global cooling period, not global warming, that would probably last decades.

The almanac based the prediction on sunspot cycles. The meteorologist that made this statement was Joseph D’Aleo who said: “Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future.”

The people who edit The Old Farmer’s Almanac are called “philoms”.  Ben Franklin used this term when he wrote his almanac.  The Greek meaning “lover of learning” and we all love to learn.

Almanacs have been around for a long time they are even in digital format for your mobile device.  Check them out!

References:

Pierce, John (September 20, 2000). “Strange Weather and What it Means” (SMIL (RealAudio)). Talk of the NationNational Public Radio. Retrieved February 24, 2007.

Lamb, David (February 1, 1993). “Almanac begins third century of know-and-tell”. Los Angeles Times. p. 5.

Park, Edwards (November 1992). “Weathering Every Season with One Canhjny Compendium”. Smithsonian Magazine. 91.

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