In 1872 the Argentine state founded the Argentine Meteorological Service (AMS) as an appendage of the National Observatory. Under the guidance of US astronomer Benjamin Apthorp Gould and his successor Walter Davis, the AMS created a national network of amateur weather observers spread throughout the nation and even past the nation's nineteenth-century borders. The AMS proposed to state officials that in time the weather data could help to better understand Argentina's environmental and climatological diversity and have significant political and economic influence on the nation's future. This article examines the AMS's foundation and development, placing it within the Argentine nation-state building process of the last third of the nineteenth century. It argues that the state used weather observation more as a tool of expansion, as in the case of Patagonia, than as a scientific endeavor. In the Patagonian territory of Chubut, settlers and soldiers who completed weather observations argued that their findings demonstrated Patagonia to be a region of limitless agricultural possibilities, even if the truth was far from that.

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