Climate and Weather


Why was 1816 known as the year without a summer?

The eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia, in 1815 threw billions of cubic yards of dust over 15 miles (24 kilometers) into the atmosphere. Because the dust penetrated the stratosphere, wind currents spread it throughout the world. As a consequence of this volcanic activity, in 1816 normal weather patterns were greatly altered. Some parts of Europe and the British Isles experienced average temperatures 2.9 to 5.8°F (1.6 to 3.2°C) below normal. In New England heavy snow fell between June 6 and June 11 and frost occurred in every month of 1816. Crop failures occcured in Western Europe and Canada as well as in New England. By 1817 the excess dust had settled and the climate returned to more normal conditions.


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