Talk:Year Without a Summer

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Former good article nominee Year Without a Summer was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
December 17, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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WikiProject Volcanoes (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
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Temperature Picture[edit]

What does that global temp picture have to do with anything? Maybe a picture more clearly demonstrating the shift in temperature, but I think it's just some Global Warming fanatic posting it there to spread "awareness" or some nonsense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

1800 and froze to death[edit]

What do you mean, 1800 and froze to death? It sounds akward. I think at least an explanation is in order? Superm401 23:49, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It's actually commonly used. "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death". Can't find any information on the origin. I guess it's the crops that froze to death in the eighteen hundreds. Sorry I'm two years late on this reply. Wuffyz (talk) 22:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I too have heard it refered to as "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death". Should we add it to the alternate names at the first?--Wilson (talk) 14:33, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Is this name contemporary, or was it invented later? D O N D E groovily Talk to me 03:14, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

I believe it was contemporary, used in newspapers of the time. Thegreatdr (talk) 01:36, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Franklin's experiments[edit]

OK, were Franklin's experiments really blamed for the weather change that year? Franklin had died 26 years earlier...

Year with very little (Northern Hemisphere) winter[edit]

As most students of the Gregorian Calendar know, 1752 didn't have any January, February, or much of March in Britain and its colonies, because it started on 25 March as usual and ended in December. It even lost several days in September. Robin Patterson 01:57, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ejecta Mass Discrepancy[edit]

In this article the mass of the volcanic ejecta is identified as "One and a half million metric tons" with a link to 1_E9_kg, but on the orders of magnatide page, the ejecta is described as 10E14kg, which seems a much more believable number for a volcano having such a global effect.

Anybody know?

This page says: ...over a million and a half metric tons of dust into the upper atmosphere. 2-3*1014kg is the sum of all ejected material, i.e. larger ash particles, lapilli, lava bombs, rocks etc. Alureiter 11:34, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Various sources place total volume of ejecta at between 100 and 150 cubic km. Assuming 100 as a nice round figure and a low specific density of the ejecta of 1.5, this indicates a mass of 150,000 million tonnes. Density could vary from this figure as it depends on how much material is volatile rich (eg pumiceous - which if floats on water would be effectively less than 1) or more solid - could go up to 2.5 to 3. If 1.5 million tonnes ends up in the upper atmosphere then this is only 1 in 10,000 approx of total. GeoFromOz

I have removed the figure for amounts of ejecta. The Tambora page is the place for that. -Trieste 11:20, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Effects and Draisine[edit]

Previously this section read "led to the invention of the velocipede and the draisine, a predecessor of the modern bicycle." The page on the Draisine refers to a trolley system. I changed the link to point to Dandy horse which also refers to the draisine as another name for this. Seemed a bit confusing to point to a trolley of the same name instead. --Censorwolf 15:19, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Draisine has since been elaborated. I've changed the link in the article to point to it. --RealGrouchy (talk) 03:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)


"and in June two large snowstorms resulted in many human deaths as well."

Where? The Northeastern U.S.? Europe? Canada? bob rulz 10:43, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The Northeastern Usa were affected by these snowstorms.Check this insightful link

Only one year[edit]

Only one summer/ one year was effected? I wonder how such an short period can have such an devastating effect on the whole society (moving to other places etc.). --Abdull 10:40, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

At the time it was not understood that volcanic eruptions halfway around the world could have such dramatic effects on the climate of the North Atlantic. Most of those people hadn't even heard of the volcanoes that had errupted, let alone know that they caused the weather shift. As such, they feared the same thing may happen again in subsequent years. Also, it's important to remember that, for all intents and purposes, they lived through three winters back-to-back. There was a normal winter from 1815-1816, which gave way to another "winter" in the summer of 1816, which led right into the winter of 1816-1817.

Imagine seeing snow storms for about 18 consecutive months.

Obviously you haven't lived in Calgary. My favourite paragraph: "Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes reverting from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95 °F (35 °C) to near-freezing within hours." What's so strange about that? --Charlene 11:04, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
It's not strange in Calgary, but Calgary is unique due to Chinook winds blowing off the Rockies. Calgary is affected by this phenomenon more than anywhere else in the world. Such temperature swings are extremely rare outside of Calgary and surrounding areas. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 03:16, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Weasel Words[edit]

This "Some believe..." stuff should not be added to this article. Source it or leave it out. Mexcellent 22:03, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


I've added a {{globalize}} template to the article because ALL the examples of the effects of the volcano come from Europe and North America. What were the effects in South America? And Africa? And China? And Japan? And everywhere else outside E/NA. This article won't be adequate until these facts are included. Mikker (...) 02:15, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe there weren't any. The article says quite clearly "severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada". If there was no impact on South America, Africa, and East Asia, there's no reason to mention them. —Angr 20:08, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Maybe indeed, but a possibility is hardly evidence, is it? The Tambora volcano almost certainly had a impact on the global weather - it is therefore rather reasonable to assume there wera also impacts on AT LEAST other Northern hemisphere countries (Japan, China, North Africa, Middle East, etc.). Until you can provide a cite saying the impacts were in fact restricted to Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada the template should stay. Mikker (...) 20:48, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
On the contrary, you should provide evidence that the "year without a summer" phenomenon was found in other parts of the world before complaining that it isn't discussed. It being impossible to prove a negative, the burden of proof is always on the person making the positive claim. Note that this article isn't Impact of the explosion of Tambora on the global climate but rather the more restricted Year Without a Summer. —Angr 23:00, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Hmmmm... your onus argument doesn't work in this case IMO. Tambora is one of only 4 volcanoes in the Holocene that are classified as a "super-colossal" 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index and, given its scale, its effects on weather would most certainly have been global. It would be extremely surprising if the weather in France were affected, but not the weather in Turkey and Russia. Similarly so for China, Japan and the rest of the northern hemisphere. Timing effects might have ruled out effects on the southern hemisphere, but even that I doubt. America- and Eurocentricism is well established, so it's hardly surprising it's difficult to find sources about what the effects in, say, China were - but that doesn't mean there were no such effects. It *is* BTW possible to "prove a negative" here - a historian can simply look at first hand accounts, food prices and moratlity rates (among other things) in China (and wherever else) in 1816 and if no reports of effects are mentioned, food prices remained stable and lots of people did not die, the proposition that China too had a year w/o a summer would be falisfied. Mikker (...) 00:28, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
This (rather important) discussion seems to have stalled, so I'll revive it... I agree with Mikker in the sense that there should be some information about the impact in other countries. However, Angr makes a good point; the article is about the term 'Year Without a Summer', which relates exclusively to the Western hemisphere. IMHO a short section on the more global impact would suffice, if one could locate references for this. (I might try... ) riana_dzasta 17:08, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Why do you say "the term 'Year Without a Summer'... relates exclusively to the Western hemisphere"? Surely the phenomenon (qua phenomenon) had a global impact and should therefore have global coverage. Sure, the name "Year without a summer" is used only in the Western hemisphere, but that doesn't mean we should not cover the rest of the world equally. The term "global warming" is a Western hemisphere invention - does that mean our article on the Effects of global warming should concern only Europe and North America? That said, even a small section on the global effects would be welcome... Mikker (...) 18:47, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Mikker, I'm basically saying what you're saying :) The name is a Western convention, but there should definitely be something about global impact. I'll try to search for something, anything, to say about that. riana_dzasta 01:18, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh, right. My mistake... Mikker (...) 18:37, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I removed the globalize tag because the "year without a summer" refers to the abnormaly cold weather experienced in the northen atlantic region of the world. The reason there is no information on other regions is because this wasn't a global event. This article is about a phenomenon that was caused by the volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora. It is NOT an article about the effects on those eruptions on a global scale. Danimoth 21:36, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
(1) Who says the article only concerns the North Atlantic? (2) Refs please. Mikker (...) 21:55, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
(1) This article is about the North Atlantic because the "year without a summer" refers to the localized weather abnomaly experienced in that region, which was caused by Mount Tambora. The term is not used to refer to ALL of the climatic changed due to the eruptions. Trying to find sources that document this event outside of this region would be equivalent to trying to find the impact that the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake had in Canada, or Hurricane Katrina in East Asia. (2) [1][2][3] Danimoth 22:40, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
That's odd. The Indian Ocean Earthquake was in the Indian Ocean. Katrina was in the Gulf of Mexico. The Tambora eruption was in Indonesia. Which hardly makes it a "localized weather abnomaly" for the North Atlantic, does it? If the volcano could affect the weather in the NA why couldn't it also affect it in Asia? And Africa? ALL of which are much, much closer. Besides, this source you provided says "The eruption injected 60 mt of sulfur into the stratosphere, six times more than was released by the 1991 Pinatubo eruption. This formed a global sulfate aerosol veil in the stratosphere, which resulted in pronounced climate perturbations." Moreover this source says: "Over the following year, heavy ash-fall filled the air across the globe, preventing sunrays from reaching the earth". And while the sources you provided only mention temperature effects in North America and Europe, this is most likely simply a reflection of Euro- an America-centrism. Can you provide evidence that the eruption didn't affect the rest of the world? (And please don't bring up "proving a negative" without reading the whole thread above). Mikker (...) 00:51, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
From the National Climatic Data Center: "Note that 1816 (the so-called "year without a summer"--Figure 16) in addition to appearing to have indeed been an especially cold summer (see Briffa et al, 1998) and a cold year for the NH temperature as a whole (though not anomalous relative to other years during that very cold decade), was an anomalously cold year only in Europe and parts of North America. In fact, conditions in the Middle and Near east were warmer than normal by 20th century standards." [4] Danimoth 01:32, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. I've removed the template again. I'll put in a sentence or two about it being a European/North American pheneomenon only and the reasons given for this in the paper you provided. Mikker (...) 02:08, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


I've found references for the temperature differences in 1816~1817. This is my first stab at placing references in an article. I don't know how many are typically required, but I have one added for the temperature variations and two for the most likely source. Price references are a bit harder to "conjure up", but I did find, though I'm not sure this is the best of references. I have added it just the same. Thanks for any help in this area. William (Bill) Bean 15:04, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

On second thought I decided to not add this since it points out specific price fluctuations caused by the event. The article does not address these fluctuations, but rather talks about the migration this event caused. Too indirect a relationship I think. William (Bill) Bean

Worst Famine of the 19th century[edit]

While the deaths of 200,000 people is remarkable, this famine is hardly the worst in the century, even in the West. The Irish potato famines killed at least five times as many people. However, the "worst famine of the 19th century" phrase is used in several entries dealing with the 1816 cimate anomoly.

The article is lowballing the population loss numbers--I added a change that will give some perspective, but without cites, theirs not a lot more I can do, and I'm on other business. Bottom line, transportation in 1818 was deer paths connecting towns and hardly a bridge anywhere away from a large city... requiring one to ford rivers and streams. Long distance travel was in a word, perilous!!! Hence importing bulky foodstuffs would have been near impossible, could they be found. No big wharehouses and grangers and grainarys either... life was very much hand to mouth. Add in disease onset in a weakened population, and the life cost was likely much higher than 15% of the population in Northern America—offset only by hunting and fishing, which mercifully was probably fair. At least much of New England and the Hudson valley would have had access to oceanic sources. The Great Lakes to fishing there... but inland... (Ta deim, bow your heads and take of the hat!) Europe, with its denser population in the era would have had a great many more deaths. In truth, the article is but a stub, in this respect. // FrankB 21:00, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Cause to tie in -- {expert} tagging[edit]

In a science channel program this afternoon, the program stated the Year without a summer was most likely caused not by the the (2) volcanoes cited currently, but by a wide scale Basaltic Lava flow (a little uncertain of that term, but think lake-sized and flowing in a moving plateau of molten rock) which has a better date, See this section / this version post on talk:volcanoes. // FrankB 21:06, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

GA Status[edit]

The article has passed Sections 4), 5) and 6). Work is needed on Sections 1), 2) and 3).

Overall, the assessment is ON HOLD.

1) Style

Description section

  • Remove (corn)

Effects section

  • Replace "in summer and fall" with "in the summer and the autumn"

2) Accuracy

Description section

  • Add a reference for the sentence starting "The result was,,,,,,"

Effects section

  • Expand sentence starting "Many New Englanders,,,,,,," How were they wiped out ? financially ? emotionally ? psychologically ? Add a reference for the claim.
  • Add a reference for the claim "The violence was worst in,,,,,"
  • Which BBC documentary ? Add a reference.

Comparable events section

  • Add a reference each for all three events listed.

3) Coverage

Description Section

  • In the introduction, it is claimed that the Year without a Summer affected Northern Europe, the American northeast and Canada but in the description section only the American northeast is covered.

Expand the section so to include the events in Canada and Northern Europe.

Causes Section

  • Expand section to include contemporary accounts of the explosion on the amount of dust released.


  • All references must be in accordance with WP:CITET

4) Neutrality

Article is neutral in tone.

5) Stability

Article is stable without major edit wars, though I note you have suffered from acts of vandalism from unregistered ISP users.

6) Images

Free public domain images are used. Good use of images. No Fair Use images.

The corrections, as specified above, must be done by 17 December 2007. Contact me when they have been and I shall re-assess.

Tovojolo (talk) 21:57, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

GA Status Fail[edit]

I note that the work, that was required to achieve GA Status, was not done. I, therefore, have no alternative but to declare that the article has now been assessed as a FAIL

Tovojolo (talk) 00:06, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Dalton Minimum[edit]

"The fact that the eruptions occurred during the middle of the Dalton Minimum (a period of unusually low solar activity) is also significant." I was reading the article and noticed that it doesn't explain how it's significant. Could someone who knows please expand on this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Temperature units[edit]

I noticed this article, though clearly international in scope, uses the Fahrenheit scale in preference to the Celsius scale. As an international article on a scientific subject, I think it should be the other way around. What do others think? --John (talk) 21:05, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Please change it. Rees11 (talk) 11:31, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I thing the article is written in english therefor it should use the english measuring system. It maybe a conservative way of thinking but it is the most common and most understood. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:50, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

John is right. We use use SI as the primary unit since it is international in scope, with conversion to imperial following. Thegreatdr (talk) 22:17, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

The temperatures given in the first paragraph are clearly inconsistent. 0.4–0.7 °C corresponds to 32.7–33.3 °F, not 0.3–1.7 °F. Which unit is correct? Altay8 (talk) 02:55, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

He's talking about a temperature difference, and the figures are therefore correct. Old_Wombat (talk) 11:41, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Description and Effects[edit]

The Description section seems to be mostly a description of the effects. I suggest these two sections be merged. Rees11 (talk) 11:31, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree, strongly. Dayvey (talk) 12:02, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Anomaly map[edit]

Hi, i've added an anomaly map using data from Luterbacher et al. 2004 europe reconstruction, hope this help a bit for 1816 summer spatial pattern; does anyone know a source of gridded (summer only) data for the entire northern hemisphere? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Giorgiogp2 (talkcontribs) 09:05, 9 January 2010 (UTC)


Would it not be wise to merge this page with the Volcanic winter one. --Chris.urs-o (talk) 08:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

No it wouldn't. There have been lots of Volcanic winters, but this is one particular event. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 03:21, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Comparable events[edit]

what about Karakatoa? see:

refer to: Winchester, Simon; Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, HarperCollins, New York ISBN 0066212855 (2003) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

The lead says of the Mount Tambora eruption that it was "the largest known eruption in over 1,300 years." In the "Causes" section it says "It was the world's largest eruption since the Hatepe eruption over 1,630 years earlier...". Which is it? Huw Powell (talk) 01:26, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Um, both? 1630 would be more than 1300 years ago, wouldn't it? Thegreatdr (talk) 01:42, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Sunspot story is a bit suspicious.[edit]

We have, supposedly, both at the same time, "a historic low in solar activity" and "The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye." Uhh, as I understand it, during a low solar activity there are hardly any sunspots at all, even with a telescope. To then say that there were sunspots large enough to be visible to the naked eye is grossly inconsistent. Both statements can't be true at the same time. As far as I know. Old_Wombat (talk) 11:47, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it sounds suspicious, but I still think it's possible. In years with little solar activity there are much fewer sunspots, but there still are some. If you go and get yourself a pair of those glasses for observing solar eclipses you can see for yourself that most sunspots are prominent enough to be seen without additional optics. Just sometimes there's fewer of them. --BjKa (talk) 18:31, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Certainly true, however i think the description is actually refering to how the sun was dim enough to view the sun and the spots without requiring eye protection and the spots were not 'swamped' (for want of a better word) by the normally immense surface brightness. (in the same way that the normally invisible corona & prominances can be viewed during an eclipse). (talk) 12:44, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Looking at the sunspot chart on the Dalton Minimum page, I would guess there was at least 20 sunspots in 1816. It was on the rise from a sunspot minimum in about 1812. <Edit: Solar cycle 6 page says that May 1816 was actually the maximum for that cycle, with about 48 sunspots visible.> Nerfer (talk) 21:02, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

Description: One epidemic or multiple epidemics?[edit]

In the Description section, it talks about "epidemic" - it should either be "an epidemic" or "epidemics". Which is it? Thanks... a link to the Epidemic article might be nice, also. Allens (talk) 13:29, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

subsistence crisis[edit]

In the introduction it currently says:
Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".
OK, so why was the Great Irish Potato Famine of the years following 1848 not a subsistence crisis? Should we really agree with Mr. Post here? --BjKa (talk) 18:17, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

The difference is regional, as in the island of Ireland and a hemisphere.Wzrd1 (talk) 16:15, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, regional or not 1-1,5 million dead is quite a crises and i'm pretty sure Ireland is in the western world, and certainly in the western hemisphere141.6.11.16 (talk) 12:53, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Turner Picture[edit]

Not a massive issue, but there seems to be a huge difference in the brightness of the yellow in the image appearing on this article compared to the one used on the Turner article. Almost looks like it has been edited with a paint package. (I have not seen the original, so uncertain which is the correct image). (talk) 12:37, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Northern - Southern Hemispheres[edit]

It's hard to believe that a volcanic ash cloud from Mount Tambora could cross the equator. Hurricanes, which may reach a high altitude NEVER can cross the equator because the simple reason of winds at a very high altitude tend to move from the Intertropical Convergence Zone to the middle latitudes FROM THE SAME HEMISPHERE, never crossing the equator. --Fev 03:04, 3 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fev (talkcontribs)

New Book on Tambora[edit]

Tambora : the eruption that changed the world / Gillen D'Arcy Wood.

Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2014.

Summary: When Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano's massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Amid devastating storms, drought, and floods, communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale. On the eve of the bicentenary of the great eruption, Tambora tells the extraordinary story of the weather chaos it wrought, weaving the latest climate science with the social history of this frightening period to offer a cautionary tale about the potential tragic impacts of drastic climate change in our own century. ISBN: 9780691150543 0691150540 Bib #: 687894

Pete318 (talk) 17:14, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Re-wrote Awkward Sentence[edit]

The final sentence of the first paragraph is long and confusing (see below), so I rewrote it into two more concise ones.

"The Earth had already been in a centuries-long period, since the 14th century, of global cooling known today as the Little Ice Age, which itself caused considerable agricultural distress in Europe as a whole during its onset; the Little Ice Age's existing cooling was solely as a potentially aggravating factor, as the eruption of Tambora occurred during the Little Ice Age's concluding decades." Bgovern (talk) 23:39, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

Suggestions for Improvement[edit]

Under the descriptions heading, I would suggest a clear citation for the facts stated following the phrase "Typically the late spring..."
Under the cultural effects, I would add some information regarding why Joseph Smith's move was a significant factor in initiating the events that led to the publication of the Book of Mormon and the establishment of the church.
In the North America section, there is a phrase that reads "the cooler climate did not quite support agriculture". I would remove the word "quite". I think it is unclear to say that it "did not quite support agriculture" because it leads to questions about what was supported and what was not.Vandema5 (talk) 19:01, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
I would put more emphasis on the topic of crops because this is so important for us humans. In this article they mention in certain regions of the world where prices skyrocketed because the lack of wheat, grains, meat, vegetables, butter, milk, and flour, which gets very pricey. This just goes to show the importance of crops when it comes to climate abnormalities and the importance of it could be mentioned some more in the article.
In the Asia section they mention the cool temperatures in China from climate abnormalities led to various environmental issues. They could be more specific on the temperature like they were most the article.
In the Europe section they speak about how food prices rose sharply, in other areas of the article they showed the difference in food prices as they could’ve done here. Cheaibal (talk) 23:09, 19 September 2016 (UTC)


In the Cultural Effects section, should the citation be directly after mentioning The Vampyre or should it be after the sentence? Also, I know that there was talk of how people were actually quite worried about the state of the world that year because of all of the anomalies. I specifically remember reading somewhere how some thought the world was ending from the food shortages, cold, and being able to see sunspots. Could this type of information be beneficial to the article?AS0909 (talk) 21:02, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Another topic that could be elaborated on could potentially be about how the price of oats rose negatively effected travel, increasing the cost of travel. The following link to the Center for Science Education talks about the summer of 1816, including the aforementioned. (talk) 00:52, 27 September 2016 (UTC)