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Year Without a Summer

 
Green Man
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User ID: 3245
Hong Kong
06/06/2006 02:00 PM
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Year Without a Summer
Given our recent Climate Change threads, I though I would play woo-woo's advocate and post this articles about the effects of a volcano on worldwide weather (NOT climate, as it repeatedly states).

Enjoy!

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

The Year Without a Summer, also known as the Poverty Year and Eighteen hundred and froze to death, was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada[1][2]. Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the western world".

It is now generally thought that the aberrations occurred because of the 5 April 15 April 1815 volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in the Dutch East Indies (in today's Indonesia) which ejected over a million and a half metric tons or 400 km³[3] of dust into the upper atmosphere. La Soufrière in Saint Vincent in the Caribbean in 1812, and Mayon in the Philippines in 1814, had already built up atmospheric dust in major eruptions. As is common following a massive volcanic eruption, temperatures fell worldwide owing to less sunlight passing through the atmosphere.

The unusual climate aberrations of 1816 had the greatest effect on the American northeast, the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland and northern Europe. Typically, the late spring and summer of the northeastern U.S. are relatively stable: temperatures average about 6877°F (2025°C), and rarely fall below 41°F (5°C). Summer snow is an extreme rarity, though May flurries sometimes occur.

In May of 1816, however, frost killed off most of the crops that had been planted, and in June two large snowstorms in eastern Canada and New England resulted in many human deaths. Nearly a foot of snow was observed in Quebec City in early June. In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes reverting from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95°F (35°C) to near-freezing within hours. Even though farmers south of New England did succeed in bringing some crops to maturity, maize (corn) and other grain prices rose dramatically. Oats, for example, rose from 12¢ a bushel the previous year to 92¢ a bushel.

Some are of the opinion that the weather was already abnormally cold due to an event known as "The Little Ice Age" that some claim was also responsible for the severity of the Black Plague as well as the excellent quality of wood used by Stradivari to make his violins.

Many historians cite the year without a summer as a primary motivation for the rapid settlement of what is now the American Midwest. Many New Englanders were wiped out by the year, and tens of thousands struck out for the richer soil and better growing conditions of the Upper Midwest (then the Northwest Territory). (A specific instance of this was when the family of Joseph Smith, eventual founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved from Sharon, Vermont to Palmyra, New York in far western New York state after several crop failures.) While crops had been poor for several years, the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora.

The eruption of Tambora also caused Hungary to experience brown snow. Italy experienced something similar, with red snow falling throughout the year. The cause of this is believed to have been volcanic ash in the atmosphere.

Europe, still recuperating from the Napoleonic Wars, suffered from food shortages. Food riots broke out in Britain and France and grain warehouses were looted. The violence was worst in landlocked Switzerland, where famine caused the government to declare a national emergency.

Huge storms, abnormal rainfall and floodings of the major rivers of Europe (including the Rhine) are attributed to the event, as was the frost setting in during August 1816.

The lack of oats inspired Karl Drais, then still a baron, to research new ways of horseless transportation which led to the invention of the Draisine or velocipede, the archetype of the modern bicycle (also motorcycle) and decisive step towards mechanized and later motorized personal transport. [4]

In July 1816 "incessant rainfall" during that "wet, ungenial summer" forced Mary Shelley, John William Polidori and their friends to stay indoors for much of their Swiss holiday, leading Shelley to write Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori to write The Vampyre. High levels of ash in the atmosphere led to unusually spectacular sunsets during this period, a feature celebrated in the paintings of J. M. W. Turner. (A similar phenomenon was observed after the 1883 Krakatoa eruption, and on the West Coast of the United States following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.)

A BBC documentary using figures compiled in Switzerland estimated that fatality rates in 1816 were twice that of average years, giving an approximate European fatality total of 200,000 deaths.

At the time, no one knew what had caused the aberrant conditions of 1816. One scapegoat was Benjamin Franklin, whose experiments with lightning and electricity were said to have altered the weather. Later, sunspot activity or simple chance were suggested as possible causes.

It was American climatologist William Humphreys who first suggested, in 1920, that the year without a summer may have been caused by volcanic activity. His explanation was inspired in part by a treatise written by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Franklin blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from the eruption of Laki in Iceland.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

Hey! I'm a Zen Master! And I thought I was just lazy.
Man 2.0

User ID: 74224
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06/06/2006 02:03 PM
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Re: Year Without a Summer
this isn't5 gonna be one without a summer tho - probably be 103 here today
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 102919
United States
06/06/2006 02:13 PM
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Re: Year Without a Summer
This is sure the year of a summer here in Texas. Already we have what would normally be july and august weather. Over a hundred here today also. Sure could use a little volcano dust here for a while.
Green Man  (OP)

User ID: 3245
Hong Kong
06/06/2006 02:30 PM
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Re: Year Without a Summer
Supposed to be 97 degrees here today. Currently 9 percent humidity.

I'm on solar, and don't have enough power to run air conditioning (maybe a swamp cooler, someday).

A little climate change to the cooler and moister would be just fine with me.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

Hey! I'm a Zen Master! And I thought I was just lazy.
kalamity kool

User ID: 100172
Australia
06/06/2006 05:21 PM
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Re: Year Without a Summer
110% in the ocean being dumped by a wave.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 61784
United States
06/06/2006 05:23 PM
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Re: Year Without a Summer
107 here today





GLP