Year without Summer: Summer of 1816

WeatherspherePublished: November 18, 201671 views
Published: November 18, 2016

In 1816 folks had a good excuse to complain about the weather, thanks to a huge volcanic eruption from Mount Tambora in Indonesia the previous year, making it the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Worldwide famine, floods & disease - all thanks to enough toxic ash in the sky to turn summer into winter.

Exactly 200 years ago, we had a year that is actually known as “the year without a summer". In 1815, Mount Tambora (located in Indonesia) blew its top. But just how large was this event?

Volcano eruptions are measured on a scale called the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), measuring explosivity, volume of ash and the height ash reaches into the atmosphere. For comparison, the eruptions of Mount St. Helens and Vesuvius were only ranked as 5’s on the index. The eruption of Mount Tambora was a 7, making it the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.

While the immediate area surrounding the volcano was burned and crops further away were covered in ash, the eruption caused a disruption in monsoon season in south-east Asia. In other parts of the world, the cloud caused a sudden and prolonged drop in temperatures, which led to perfect condition for the outbreak of cholera.

Not everything was as black and white, though. While the volcano was “throwing shade", we started paving the road towards modern medicine, we got fantastic literature and Baron Karl Drais invented what is now known as the predecessor of the bicycle. See, something good can come out of bad things.

Be the first to suggest a tag