Climate change in 1789

 TIROS-N three dimensional cloud-top image of Hurricane Diana as it was strengthening from a Category III storm to a Category IV storm. This was one of the earliest three dimensional images of a hurricane from data obtained from satellite.      Image ID: spac0289, NOAA In Space Collection     Photo Date: 1984 September 11In 1789, Thomas Jefferson returned to America after a stint as minister to France. It would be another year before Samuel Slater opened the first industrial mill and launched the Industrial Revolution in America. Yet, according to Henry Wiencek in Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, climate change was already under way.

“In a strangely modern twist,” Wiencek wrote, “Jefferson had taken note of the measurable climate change in his region: the Chesapeake region was unmistakably cooling and becoming inhospitable to heat-loving tobacco that would soon, he thought, become the staple of South Carolina and Georgia.”

Smoke that.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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