Keeping Weather Records -Tradition and Science

Keeping Weather Records – From the Archives

Tradition and Science

Do we personally need to keep track of the weather? Probably not. We could just rely on a weather app or the television meteorologist. Many people live, work, and play indoors in climate-controlled environments. They live as if the weather has little effect on their daily lives. But the simple act of keeping track of the weather will keep us in touch with our natural world and build an appreciation for the science behind common folklore and traditions.

Recording of the weather has not only been a pastime for thousands of years, but it has also been essential to predicting the weather and its effects on everyday life. What should we wear? When should we travel? Is it time to plant our garden? We make many of our decisions based on the weather and its patterns and cycles.

Do you eagerly look forward to Groundhog Day each February? Many of us are curious to see if the groundhog will see his shadow, indicating another six weeks of winter or not. Turns out he is not a great predictor of spring.

Have you heard any of the weather folklore that people have historically used to predict the weather? Read about the science of these expressions in the Almanac.

  • Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
  • If there is a halo around the sun (or moon), then we can expect rain quite soon.
  • Dew on the grass, no rain will come to pass.

Here is an example from my weather records. Jotting notes down on a chart keeps them organized and you can start to see patterns.

All these sayings are based on observations over time. When we take note of the weather and the patterns created over time, ideally writing the details down, the relationships between what we see out the window and what is coming soon becomes clearer. The record does not need to be elaborate or take much time. Our family has a clipboard with a weather chart and pencil on our front table near the window. Not every day, but often, we note the weather conditions.


Weather Record Chart

You can download this free printable chart:

Weather Record Chart

Ideas for Records:

  • Use a weather chart – simple chart for recording data
  • Note the weather on a wall calendar
  • Create a book of firsts – keep track of the first rain, first snow, first frost, etc. This link will remind you that the March 2015 edition of this newsletter featured a book of firsts. All memberships to my website include the archived newsletters to download and use with your family.

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter March 2015

Keep some weather records this season and see if your family can find some patterns and connections between the observations made and predicting the weather.


Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter October 2016 cover

You can read more weather related nature study ideas in the October 2016 newsletter found in the Member’s Library newsletter archives.


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020Be sure to check out the benefits of a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

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