V. THE NEW SCIENCE OF METEOROLOGY

"1. I observed one morning, in winter, that the insides of the panes of glass in the windows of my bedchamber were all of them moist, but that those which had been covered by an inside shutter during the night were much more so than the others which had been uncovered. Supposing that this diversity of appearance depended upon a difference of temperature, I applied the naked bulbs of two delicate thermometers to a covered and uncovered pane; on which I found that the former was three degrees colder than the latter. The air of the chamber, though no fire was kept in it, was at this time eleven and one-half degrees warmer than that without. Similar experiments were made on many other mornings, the results of which were that the warmth of the internal air exceeded that of the external from eight to eighteen degrees, the temperature of the covered panes would be from one to five degrees less than the uncovered; that the covered were sometimes dewed, while the uncovered were dry; that at other times both were free from moisture; that the outsides of the covered and uncovered panes had similar differences with respect to heat, though not so great as those of the inner surfaces; and that no variation in the quantity of these differences was occasioned by the weather's being cloudy or fair, provided the heat of the internal air exceeded that of the external equally in both of those states of the atmosphere.

"The remote reason of these differences did not immediately present itself. I soon, however, saw that the closed shutter shielded the glass which it covered from the heat that was radiated to the windows by the walls and furniture of the room, and thus kept it nearer to the temperature of the external air than those parts could be which, from being uncovered, received the heat emitted to them by the bodies just mentioned.

"In making these experiments, I seldom observed the inside of any pane to be more than a little damped, though it might be from eight to twelve degrees colder than the general mass of the air in the room; while, in the open air, I had often found a great dew to form on substances only three or four degrees colder than the atmosphere. This at first surprised me; but the cause now seems plain. The air of the chamber had once been a portion of the external atmosphere, and had afterwards been heated, when it could receive little accessories to its original moisture. It constantly required being cooled considerably before it was even brought back to its former nearness to repletion with water; whereas the whole external air is commonly, at night, nearly replete with moisture, and therefore readily precipitates dew on bodies only a little colder than itself.

"When the air of a room is warmer than the external atmosphere, the effect of an outside shutter on the temperature of the glass of the window will be directly opposite to what has just been stated; since it must prevent the radiation, into the atmosphere, of the heat of the chamber transmitted through the glass.

"2. Count Rumford appears to have rightly conjectured that the inhabitants of certain hot countries, who sleep at nights on the tops of their houses, are cooled during this exposure by the radiation of their heat to the sky; or, according to his manner of expression, by receiving frigorific rays from the heavens. Another fact of this kind seems to be the greater chill which we often experience upon passing at night from the cover of a house into the air than might have been expected from the cold of the external atmosphere. The cause, indeed, is said to be the quickness of transition from one situation to another. But if this were the whole reason, an equal chill would be felt in the day, when the difference, in point of heat, between the internal and external air was the same as at night, which is not the case. Besides, if I can trust my own observation, the feeling of cold from this cause is more remarkable in a clear than in a cloudy night, and in the country than in towns. The following appears to be the manner in which these things are chiefly to be explained:

"During the day our bodies while in the open air, although not immediately exposed to the sun's rays, are yet constantly deriving heat from them by means of the reflection of the atmosphere. This heat, though it produces little change on the temperature of the air which it traverses, affords us some compensation for the heat which we radiate to the heavens. At night, also, if the sky be overcast, some compensation will be made to us, both in the town and in the country, though in a less degree than during the day, as the clouds will remit towards the earth no inconsiderable quantity of heat. But on a clear night, in an open part of the country, nothing almost can be returned to us from above in place of the heat which we radiate upward. In towns, however, some compensation will be afforded even on the clearest nights for the heat which we lose in the open air by that which is radiated to us from the sun round buildings.

To our loss of heat by radiation at times that we derive little compensation from the radiation of other bodies is probably to be attributed a great part of the hurtful effects of the night air. Descartes says that these are not owing to dew, as was the common opinion of his contemporaries, but to the descent of certain noxious vapors which have been exhaled from the earth during the heat of the day, and are afterwards condensed by the cold of a serene night. The effects in question certainly cannot be occasioned by dew, since that fluid does not form upon a healthy human body in temperate climates; but they may, notwithstanding, arise from the same cause that produces dew on those substances which do not, like the human body, possess the power of generating heat for the supply of what they lose by radiation or any other means."[2]