Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1258: The Year Without Summer

How a massive volcano caused worldwide weather changes in the medieval period. To quote:
In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists reveal that when Samalas Volcano, located on Lombok Island in Indonesia, exploded sometime between May and October 1257, it was the largest blast the earth had seen in 7000 years.

The blast, which was significantly greater than the explosion at Krakatoa in 1883, left volcanic debris from the Arctic to Antarctica. The researchers write:

Tree-ring, historical, and archeological records attest to substantial climatic impacts, which were most pronounced in the northern hemisphere in A.D. 1258. Medieval chronicles highlight an unseasonable cold summer with incessant rains, associated with devastating floods and poor harvests.

Last year archaeologists discovered that a mass burial in London took place in 1258, as famine struck the country. The English chronicler Matthew Paris wrote that during this year “the north wind blew without intermission, a continued frost prevailed, accompanied by snow and such unendurable cold, that it bound up the face of the earth, sorely afflicted the poor, suspended all cultivation, and killed the young of the cattle to such an extent that it seemed as if a general plague was raging amongst the sheep and lambs.” (Read more.)

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