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Historical Climate of Kansas

Temperature Data

Precipitation Data

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This research has been sponsored by the NSF Geography and Regional Science Program (DDRI Grant BCS-0622894).

     The large variance in the weather and climate of interior North America demands data that can capture extremes at small time scales and thus daily instrumental data become critical in order to thoroughly assess the potential socioeconomic and environmental impacts. High quality daily meteorological data are also of vital importance for documenting natural variability and anthropogenic impacts on weather and climate. Kansas has an outstanding reserve of quantitative 19th century weather data that have not been analyzed including records from early forts, the Smithsonian, the Signal Service, community newspapers, and weather-sensitive diarists. The goals of this Ph.D. research were to 1) extend the temperature and precipitation history of northeastern Kansas into the mid-19th century and 2) establish helpful methods and computer code that may be of use in the recovery and reanalysis of historical climate records across the United States.

     Three peer-reviewed articles from this dissertation project have been published. The manuscripts for these articles, the computer program developed for the dissertation research, and the dissertation itself are available via the links below. Raw and adjusted temperature and precipitation data used for this research can be downloaded from the links on the left.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Burnette, D.J., and D.W. Stahle, 2013: Computer assisted screening, correction, and analysis of historical weather measurements. Computers and Geosciences, 54, 309-317. [Download available from ScienceDirect]
  • Burnette, D.J., and D.W. Stahle, 2013: Historical perspective on the Dust Bowl drought in the central United States. Climatic Change, 116, 479-494, doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0525-2. [Download available from Springer]

Computer Program:

Ph.D. Dissertation:

  • Burnette, D.J., 2009: Reconstruction of the eastern Kansas temperature and precipitation records into the mid-19th century using historical sources, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Arkansas, 173 pp. [Download .pdf, 10.6 MB]

Doctoral Dissertation Committee: Dr. David W. Stahle (chair), Dr. Malcolm K. Cleaveland, Dr. Cary J. Mock, and Dr. Elliott West