Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Year Without a Summer

During a particularly snowy summer in 1816, Mary Shelley and her husband Percy were trapped in Lord Byron's house on Lake Geneva. Due to the unseasonable weather Lord Byron and his guests had to stay inside due to the cold. To pass the time, they had a writing competition to see who could write the best ghost story. Mary Shelley wrote the book Frankenstein.

Now, why was it so cold and snowy in the summer of 1816? In Indonesia there is a volcano that erupted in in 1815 called Tambora. Considered the worst volcano in recorded history, Tambora killed as many as 60,000 people outright. The Volcano also threw up huge plumes of smoke and ash that eventually covered the globe. This blocked out the sun and affected the weather.

1816 became known as the Year Without a Summer. America had snow in June, July and August. There was famine and crop failures all over the world.

So stories like this make me kind of nervous...

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At Sat Apr 17, 10:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A year without summer? I was promised global warming by experts. I demand a refund on my carbon emissions pronto!

At Sat Apr 17, 11:10:00 AM, Blogger sunshine said...

Oh my!
We barely had a summer last year!
I doubt that I could handle a summer like that! :(


At Sat Apr 17, 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Kelly the little black dog said...

Unfortunately its not big enough, and not in the right location to cover the whole globe to produce another global year without a summer. But expect that Europe's summer is going to be cooler.

At Sat Apr 17, 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Noaf said...

Only one problem, the French Revolution was in 1789! Oops, your silly time travel lag has again caused a vortex in the holographic wave of your septum!

May have been the 1783 Laki eruption that pushed along the Bastille insurrection:

At Sat Apr 17, 03:18:00 PM, Blogger Seeing Eye Chick said...

It could still effect America's weather patterns. It could be wetter in the central midwestern plains, and it could move tornado alley to the North and East. Mimicking bad El Nino years.

But Kelly is right. To have another 1816, something like the Tambora explosion/eruptions would make Mt Pentitubo look quaint by comparison, and that one actually lowered the tempurature by almost a whole degree.

Now if the bigger Volcanic Complex next to the one that is currently erruption go off--then start to worry.

At Sat Apr 17, 04:12:00 PM, Blogger 3NINO said...

You yanks are all going to be fine...

My family has to drive through France to get a ferry back to England.
through FRANCE.

At Sat Apr 17, 09:40:00 PM, Blogger Tengrain said...

I remember the movie, I think. Didn't David Niven rescue Shirley McClain from being thrown in the volcano, so she could go on to win the acadamy award for another movie?



At Sun Apr 18, 06:08:00 PM, Blogger susan said...

and when Yellowstone goes none of us will have anything to worry about anymore.

At Sun Apr 18, 09:37:00 PM, Blogger gmb said...

Ten: Write it up, but use Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and there's your retirement. Just saying.

At Mon Apr 19, 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gmb amen

At Tue Apr 20, 03:41:00 PM, Blogger JustJoeP said...

Dr Z, you were spammed by another pathetic Chinese spammer just above ^

Seeing Eye, you said "Now if the bigger Volcanic Complex next to the one that is currently erruption [sic] go off--then start to worry." ... the last time Iceland erupted in the late 1800s, this particular volcano went off first, for a year of jettisoning ash and hydrogen sulfide, and then the others adjacent continued to spew lava for several more years.

At Wed Apr 21, 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Juankmu said...

Ok, let's make some freaky orgies before we all get freeze

At Fri Apr 23, 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Jang-chub Ozer: A refund on my carbon emissions? Are you sure that's wise? ;o)

Sunshine: Hmm... But maybe you could write another horror classic like Frankenstein! ;o)

Kelly the little black dog: Ha! Chilly French people this summer! I'm not sure if the Germans could any colder than they already are... ;o)

Noaf: Ack! You're right! My source was wrong. The French Revolution may have been caused by the Laki volcanic system. Oops! ;o)

Seeing Eye Chick: I just hope this whole volcano thing goes away soon. I want to eat popsicles this summer, not be one! ;o)

3NINO: Horrifying! But then again... Sandra Lou is French! Oo-La-La! ;o)

Tengrain: WHAAAAT!?!?!? Shirley McClain won an Academy Award!?!??! ;o)

Susan: Ack! Something must be done about all of those picnic baskets in Jellystone park! Save the desserts first! ;o)

GMB: You mean have David Niven rescue Brad Pitt from being thrown into the volcano? Hmm... ;o)

Jang-chub Ozer: Hee hee!

JustJoeP: Damn those pathetic Chinese spammers! 227 years ago Iceland lost a fifth of their population to a volano.

Juankmu: I say we start with chocolate cake and ice cream! ;o)

At Sat Apr 24, 07:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What could the problem be? My carbon emissions are slight and harmless since I made the switch to alcohol ;)

At Sun Apr 25, 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Distributorcap said...

ashes ashes all summer long


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