The wind was not blowing well, month of May passed by, then June came but still there was no sign of summer. On 6 June 1816, snow fell in Albany, New York and Dennysville. 1816 was a year when summer never came. Crops failed and food shortage was recorded all over the world. The temperature dropped by 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F) resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere. But what caused such a terrible climate change in 1816 which was recorded in history as “the year without a summer”. The answer can forecast our very near future climate.
The historic dip in temperature in 1816 happened due to combined effects of low solar activity and the gigantic supervolcano eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.
The eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index(VEI) ranking of 7, which means a super-colossal event that ejected immense amounts of volcanic ash into the upper atmosphere. It was the world’s largest eruption in 1600 years. Mount Tambora is situated on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia . The eruption began on 10 April and continued for more than 6 months. Global temperatures decreased by an average of 0.53 °C, and related human casualties were reported to be about 75,000 at that time. The sky seemed permanently overcast. The lack of sunlight became so severe that farmers lost their crops and food shortages were reported in Ireland, France, England, and the United States.
The biggest volcanic eruption in known history happened in Lake Toba. Toba super eruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred sometime between 69,000 and 77,000 years ago at Lake Toba (Sumatra , Indonesia ) and recognized as one of the Earth’s largest known eruptions . The related catastrophe hypothesis holds that this event caused a global volcanic winter of six to ten years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode.
Now how does all this relate to the near future climate change ? The answer lies within a sleeping monster at Yellowstone national park. At Yellowstone National Park, there’s an active supervolcano present capable of recreating those conditions. Each of the three past supereruptions of the Yellowstone volcano spewed more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma into the environment — the benchmark of a “supervolcano.”The volcano is currently in Red Zone and 10 -15 years overdue for its eruption time. Yellowstone’s last full-scale outburst occurred 640,000 years ago, and the ones before that occurred 1.3 million and 2.1 million years ago depicting the eruption cycle of around 640,000 years.
What will happen if Yellowstone erupts…?
For several days, ash would hang in the air, making it difficult to breathe for humans as well as animals. And that blanket of ash covering the country(US) would destroy vegetation and pollute the water supply, quickly leading to a nationwide food crisis. As for the rest of the world, it would face a few years of mild climate change caused by the supereruption’s ash cloud, which would wrap around the globe, casting Earth in shadow for several days and altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere for more than a decade. But still the eruption time cannot be confirmed. It can erupt tomorrow or may be 10 to 100 years from now. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen in our lifetime because the food shortage will again put down the world into recession, much worse than the 2008 economic slowdown.
There were also some other sides of the story. The damp and dismal summer of 1816 led to the creation of a significant literary work. A group of writers, including Lord Byron, Eileen Marguet, Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Godwin wrote dark tales inspired by the gloomy and chilly weather.
During the miserable weather Mary Shelley wrote her classic novel Frankenstein.The following poem from Eileen Marguet summed up the year:
It didn’t matter whether your farm was large or small.
It didn’t matter if you had a farm at all.
Cause everyone was affected when water didn’t run.
The snow and frost continued without the warming sun.
One day in June it got real hot and leaves began to show.
But after that it snowed again and wind and cold did blow.
The cows and horses had no grass, no grain to feed the chicks.
No hay to put aside that time, just dry and shriveled sticks.
The sheep were cold and hungry and many starved to death,
Still waiting for the warming sun to save their labored breath.
The kids were disappointed, no swimming, such a shame.
It was in 1816 that summer never came…
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