The year 1816 is known as the "Year Without a Summer", also the "Poverty Year" and "Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death" because of severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease by almost a degree and a half. Summer temperatures in Europe were the coldest on record between the years of 1766–2000. This resulted in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere. Evidence suggests that this was caused predominantly what is called a volcanic winter event caused by the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in April in the Dutch East Indies known today as Indonesia. This eruption was the largest in at least 1,300 years. In China the result was a massive famine. As a result of the series of prior volcanic eruptions, crops had been poor for several years; the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora. Europe, still recuperating from the Napoleonic Wars, suffered from food shortages. The impoverished especially suffered during this time. Low temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in Britain and Ireland. Families in Wales traveled long distances begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oat, and potato harvests. In Germany, the crisis was severe. Food prices rose sharply throughout Europe and lead to peasant revolutions. In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent "dry fog" was observed in parts of the eastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the "fog". Because it was really not a fog at all – but the result of the dirt and debris hurled into the high atmosphere – the fog – so to speak was literally above the weather. The weather was not in itself a hardship for those accustomed to long winters. The real problem lay in the weather's effect on crops and thus on the supply of food and firewood. At higher elevations, where farming was problematic in good years, the cooler climate was not able support agriculture at all. On June 6, snow fell in Albany New York, frost was reported five nights in a row in late June, causing extensive crop damage as far south as Pennsylvania. New England also experienced major consequences from the eruption of Tambora. Though fruits and vegetable crops survived, corn was reported to have ripened so poorly that no more than a quarter of it was usable for food. This moldy and unripe harvest wasn't even fit for animal feed. The final blow came on September 27, 1816 when a killing frost and freeze ended the growing seas from the Mid-Atlantic State northward. The Black Frost as it become known ushered in a terrible winter of famine.
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