That year, 1816, it was an atypical year. So much so that historians baptized it as the year without a summer due to the especially low temperatures that were recorded in the northern hemisphere. For a long time it has been the object of study by experts to find out why. The idea that volcano eruption the previous year could be related was very widespread, until in 2019 a study managed to establish the connection between Tambora, located on the island of Sumbawa Island (Indonesia), and the absent summer, as published by Environmental Research Letters.
The Tambora volcano is still active and is located on an island in Indonesia. (Photo: Getty Images)
To understand the magnitude of the first phenomenon, the eruption of the volcano, the figures published by Muy Interesante give a fairly clear idea of what was the impact globally. The first eruption was recorded on April 5, 1815. It was such that the noise of it was heard more than 1,000 kilometers away. There were those who thought they were cannon shots and prepared their troops. But that was just a warning.
On April 10, the great eruption took place. The column of smoke and ashes expelled reached the 40 kilometers high, the noise was heard over 2,500 kilometers and 400 million kilos of material came out of the Tambora, destroying everything in its path. 10,000 people died as a direct consequence of the eruption and around 80,000 more, according to CNN, due to illnesses derived from that. The sunlight disappeared through the ashes for two days for hundreds of kilometers around and experts say that its eruption was up to 8 more powerful than Vesuvius which erased from the map Pompeii in AD 79
That happened in April 1815. A year later the coldest summer took place in the northern half of the planet since 1601, they indicate in Very Interesting. There were temperature variations of up to 20 degrees, it snowed in Mexico and Guatemala and Europe had a cooler summer than usual.
Two events connected to each other according to the aforementioned study. Andrew Schurer, senior author and research associate at the University of Edinburgh’s Faculty of Geosciences, told CNN that “the eruption injected a large amount of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which would have spread rapidly around the world, oxidizing to form sulfate aerosols. These volcanic sprays reduce radiation short wave net, causing extensive and lasting surface cooling. They also lead to a reduction in global rainfall, while wetting some dry regions and causing dynamic changes in the large-scale circulation of both the ocean and the atmosphere. “
The eruption, more destructive than that of Pompeii, took place in April 1815. (Photo: Getty Images)
The anomalies in temperature were not exclusive to the summer of 1816. They also occurred in the previous seasons, but at that time they were more notable. Hence the relationship between the eruption of the volcano and the ‘year without a summer’ was established. To get there, Schurer and the rest of the team compiled existing data and climate models to study them and determine the effect cause consequence, concluding that the Tambora had something to do with it.
At that point they came after rexplain different models and introduce the eruption in one of the scenarios. “The inclusion of volcanic forcing in climate models can explain the cooling, and we estimate that it increases the probability of extremely cold temperatures up to 100 times. There is strong evidence in model simulations that volcanic eruption increases the chance of such a wet summer in Central Europe by about 1.5 to three times. And without the volcanic forcing, it is less likely that it would have been so wet and highly unlikely that it would have been that cold, ”Schurer said.
The Tambora eruption caused the ‘year without a summer’ and this, in turn, the writing of one of the great novels of the horror genre: Frankenstein. It was the unusual temperatures of that summer that led Lord Byron to encourage his friends who were with him in Villa Diodati, Switzerland, in the face of the unpleasant weather, not to go out and write a story. One of the guests was Mary Shelley. Author of this classic published two years later.