So picture this…you’ve taken a time machine back (you borrowed Marty McFly’s flux capacitor just humor me) and you’re in the year 1816.
Europe was just beginning to recover from the French Revolution and Napoleanic Wars when a volcano in Indonesia blew its top. The previous year, Mount Tambora which at the time was an active volcano erupted. In fact, nearly a third of the mountain blew apart during the eruption sending tons of debris and dust into the atmosphere. This dust formed its own giant layer literally blocking out the sun in parts of North America and Europe.
What must have completely confused everyone is the bizarre weather patterns that followed. As Spring gave way to Summer, people prepared to harvest crops when instead of warm sun they got…winter. In parts of the United States like New York and Massachusetts locals were treated to frigid winds, snows in June and outright mayhem. Crops failed, food prices skyrocketed and starvation became a real threat. Even the rain didn’t look right. During rainstorms in some areas, the drops were red instead of clear because of the dust in the atmosphere.
The rich and famous didn’t escape. In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson had recently retired to his estates and looked forward to years of selling his crops but instead went deeply into debt to finance his farms.
To give you a feel for how people felt during The Year Without a Summer, here’s an article from The Boston Independent Journal dated June 17, 1816:
“On the night of 6th instant, after a cold day, Jack Frost paid another visit to this region of the country, and nipped the beans, cucumbers, and other tender plants. This surely is cold weather for summer.
On the 5th we had quite warm weather, and in the afternoon copious showers attended with lightning and thunder — then followed high cold winds from the northwest, and back back again the above mentioned unwelcome visitor. On the 6th, 7th, and 8th June, fires were quite agreeable company in our habitations.”
The insane weather actually inspired a classic horror tale, one you’re familiar with. In Switzerland, the intense winter weather inspired Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft to write horror stories. Frankenstein came alive because of the Year Without A Summer.
So here’s the question for you, what would you do to deal with a summer without heat or sun?
Not sure, here’s some ideas:
Tri-Zone Base Layer Top – link
Battery Heated Fleece Jacket – link
Source: Robert McNamara, History Channel – link