What Happened to Summer - 1816

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By Candace Lawrence on December 27, 2012, 9:25am Last modified: December 29, 2012, 12:06am

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Imagine putting away your swim suits for winter jackets, hanging your boogy board to take down the sled and I don't mean September and through November months but in the summer around the 4th of July. Believe it or not it is possible and happened in 1816. The spring foreshadowed unusual weather bring cooler temperatures and snow reaching as far south as Virginia. Summer began as usual with nice weather and fun trips to the beach. Then something unusual occurred, temperatures began to get cooler and eventually snow started falling from the sky.

A high amount of volcanic activity occurred during 1812 to 1817. The eruption of Tabmora in the Dutch East Indies is said to have affected the atmosphere the greatest, but was paired with multiple other eruptions. Volcanic dust was held in the stratosphere, which is said to have led to global cooling along with sunspots that were visible by the naked eye. This global cooling effect took part during the summer of 1816 when unusual snow storms erupted during June and July. The irregularly cold weather reached south to Georgia at temperatures as cold as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. In parts of Vermont between June 6th to the 11th, snow drifts between 18 to 20 inches were measured. Temperatures were said at some areas to not reach over 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).

High migration from eastern to western United States occurred during this summer because of crops killed which some lived off of to sell and to eat. Garcia Herrera told Science Daily, "The low temperatures meant that many crops did not ripen, or if they did. their yield was very little and very late." It is obvious that farmers along the east coast were not aware of snow happening during the summer months, but in reality, who would have been?

According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, in 2002, 13 states average 60,000 or more number of farms. You might think that is nothing unusual but these states include Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and California which are states in central or western United States. This is relevant to the summer of 1816 because it proves that migration did occur in eastern United States. 

As unbelievable as it may be, this event did happen and can occur again throughout the years. We may even be lucky enough to witness it.

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Candace Lawrence

Town: West Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since August 2012.

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