Dalton Minimum

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The Dalton minimum in the 400-year history of sunspot numbers

The Dalton Minimum was a period of low sunspot count, representing low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830[1] or 1796 to 1820,[2] corresponding to the period solar cycle 4 to solar cycle 7.

Dalton Minimum and temperature[edit]

Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.[citation needed] During that period, there was a variation of temperature of about 1 °C in Germany.[3]

The cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period, or whether it is related to the low sunspot count, is not well understood. Recent papers have suggested that a rise in volcanism was largely responsible for the cooling trend.[4]

While The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, occurred during the Dalton Minimum, the prime reason for that year's cool temperatures was the highly explosive eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which was one of the two largest eruptions in the past 2000 years. One must also consider that the rise in volcanism may have been triggered by lower levels of solar output as there is a weak but statistically significant link between decreased solar output and an increase in volcanism.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Komitov and Kaftan 2004
  2. ^ Archibald, p. 32
  3. ^ File:Temperaturreihe Deutschland.png, red line, 1795 to 1815
  4. ^ Wagner and Zorita, as well as Wilson.
  5. ^ https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/st07500u.html


Further reading[edit]

  • A detailed analysis with the auroral and solar data has been given by Wilfried Schröder, N.N. Shefov in a paper in Ann. Geophys. 2004. Also details can be found in Wilfried Schröder, Das Phänomen des Polarlichts (The Aurora in Time), Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgeselllschaft 1984, and Science Edition, Bremen, 2000.