The year 1816 featured unprecedented cold conditions throughout the United States and Europe. The key cause was the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in April 1815, the largest volcanic explosion in recorded history. “Mount Tambora ejected so much ash and aerosols into the high atmosphere that the sky darkened and the sun was blocked from view in many places around the world that year. The eruptions killed up to 100,000 people – some immediately from the blasts – and tens of thousands of others as a result of starvation and the resulting crop failures and disease. “It might have been millions who died in total, across the globe in the next year” said AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel Myers. The smaller particles spewed by the volcano were light enough to spread into the stratosphere and eventually had a worldwide impact on the climate by reflecting solar radiation back into space. The Earth’s average global temperature dropped 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and in some areas, the drop was more than 10 degrees. The uncharacteristic cold ruined agricultural production in the United States, Europe and China, which led to drastic increases in food prices, as well as famine and epidemics of cholera and other diseases. The U.S. consisted of just 18 states in 1816 and five were in New England, which was devastated by the frigid temperatures and the lack of food. Frost throughout May killed crops in several Northeast states, snow fell in June in wide areas from New York to Maine, and heavy frosts and ice storms occurred as late as July in parts of New England. There were freezing temperatures in all 12 months of the year in New England, many of the crops failed, causing famine and triggering a western migration from New England where there was a depression and starvation. In 1815, before the effects of the volcano were known, the typesetter of the Old Farmer's Almanac jokingly printed "snow, and hail" across eastern North America for this date of July 13, 1816. The editor missed it, and the publication went to print. But because of the severe climate change; snow, and hail did fall across parts of New England on July 13. Even though later editions of the Almanac had the "correct" forecast in place, those who received the earlier editions "swore" by the Almanac the rest of their lives.
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