Summer of 1816 in New Hampshire: A Tale of Two Freezes

Ric Werme writing at Watt Up With That has an interesting weather story that takes place during the Dalton Minimum. The article is quite long and he provides this Executive Summary:

  • The proximate cause of the cold weather in 1816 is the explosion of Mt Tambora in April 1815. This may have been the largest volcanic explosion in recorded human history and lofted a lot of sulfuric acid aerosols into the stratosphere. However, 1816 is just one of several cold years blamed on volcanoes, solar activity, and other causes.
  • There were warm days, even a few hot days. There were even some warm months mixed in with the cold ones, so the result was that the annual average temperature wasn’t very far from average. In this and other cases, small deviations can add up to a major impact on the length of the growing season, number of growing degree days, etc.
  • I think the weather pattern was most affected by high latitude cooling and the polar jet stream (the storm track) shifting southward. South of the storm track there was less cooling, but they were still affected by weather systems from the north. There are signs that the jet stream had a “meridional” flow which allows polar air to surge south and tropical air to surge north.The effect of volcanic aerosols is poorly documented, likely because its poorly understood. Pretty much all of the sources talk about the amount of aerosol and the effect on global temperatures. However, I think the effects vary with latitude and that had a major effect on temperatures at different latitudes and the intensity of various weather events.
  • What set 1816 apart from other years were two freeze events. If frosts in June and August hadn’t happened, the harvest would have been very different, and few people would write about the weather of 1816. There was plenty of other cold weather in 1816, so this essay is way too long and needs this executive summary
  • A claim that snow or frosts occurred in every month of the year does not hold for parts of New Hampshire in July. There may have been such events in western Connecticut or Massachusetts, or even Virginia, but some descriptions may be exaggerated. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the year, as most everything that made it through July was killed in August.
  • 1816 set into motion changes in New Hampshire that probably would have happened later, but traces of them still exist today.

The full article is HERE.

I found the comments on the article equally interesting.  My grandmother Thomas was an avid gardener and had a kitchen garden all of her adult life. She kept a record of the last spring frost and the first fall frost in Nevada County CA and adjusted her planting and harvesting based on the record of the past.   An 1812 summer with late and early frosts would have thrown her for a loop.


Posted in Analysis, California, Dalton, History, Solar, Survival, Volcanism | Leave a comment

CLOUD Results:More Cosmic Rays, More Clouds

Our planet’s pre-industrial climate may have been cloudier than presently thought, shows CERN’s CLOUD experiment in two papers published today in Nature

CLOUD shows that organic vapours emitted by trees produce lots of aerosol particles in the atmosphere when there’s no sulphuric acid – a main product of burning fossil fuels.

Previously, it was thought that sulphuric acid was essential to initiate the formation of these aerosol particles but the new research shows that these so-called biogenic vapours are also key to their growth, and can help them grow up to sizes where they can seed clouds.

 “These results are the most important so far by the CLOUD experiment at CERN,” said CLOUD spokesperson, Jasper Kirkby. “When the nucleation and growth of pure biogenic aerosol particles is included in climate models, it should sharpen our understanding of the impact of human activities on clouds and climate.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers that the increase in aerosols and clouds since pre-industrial times represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change. The CLOUD experiment is designed to better understand such processes.

CLOUD has also found that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere.

A quiet sun diminishes the magnetosphere, which then lets more high energy cosmic rays rain down on the earth, with the potential to create more clouds, thus more global cooling.  This could be the mechanism that results in mini-ice-ages.  Your thoughts.

Posted in Cosmic Rays, History, Solar | 5 Comments

Sunspots Point To Looming Mini-Ice Age

From the Times of India:

A recent paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research reports over the past 20 years there has been a steady decline in activity on the sun’s surface and interplanetary magnetic fields, indicated by a dramatic decline in the number of sunspots. Scientists and astronomers from Physical Research Laboratory in India and counterparts in China and Japan write the decline in solar activity could indicate Earth is heading for another “little ice age” or even a more extended period of low solar activity, a Maunder Minimum, by 2020. During the last Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715 AD, the sun was almost completely spotless and Europe and much of Earth witnessed extremely harsh winter.

H/T to Climate Change Weekly

According to the West without Water,  the paleoclimate records show increased climate variability during the Little Ice Age in the Southwest US. It was generally cooler and wetter, punctuated by  episodes of drought, sometimes severe drought lasting for several years.   If low sunspots produced a cool wet climate in the Southwest, including California the past, I think we should consider the possibility it will happen again.  This is in conflict with the promotion of global warming being promoted by the Governor and the environmental wackos at CARB.


Posted in History, Maunder, Solar | 8 Comments

Current Solar Cycle Continues To Be The Weakest In Almost 200 Years …Planet At The Mercy Of The Sun

P Gosselin translates the latest post at Die kalte Sonne on solar activity. The URL link is HERE

The Sun in March 2016
By Frank Bosse and Fritz Vahrenholt
(Translated, edited by P Gosselin)

Our mother star was once again less active than normal in March. The observed solar sunspot number (SSN) was 54.9, which was about 2/3 of the mean value (82.5) for this month into the cycle. Here’s what the current solar cycle (SC) looks like so far:


Figure 1: The course of the current SC 24 since it began in December 2008, up to March 2016 (month 88) in red, the mean of the previous 23 cycles is shown in blue, and the similarLY (since month 73) behaving solar cycle number 5, which occurred from May 1789 to December 1810, shown in black.

Note the similarity of the current Solar Cycle 24 to Solar Cycle 5 which is associated with the Dalton Minimum. It maybe a little too early to compare similarities with Solar Cycles 5 and 6, leading the planet into another mini ice age, like that during the Dalton Minimum.  Or whether this minimum will combine with a lower Solar Cycle 25 which could  lead to a 30-year cooling period producing another Little Ice Age, like that during the Maunder Minimum.  We will just have to wait and watch the climate evolve as the sunspots decline.

Posted in Dalton, History, Maunder | 3 Comments

Solar Update March 2016

Sun with spot

Watts Up With That Guest Blogger David Archibald has an update on solar activity.  David  provides the reader a plethora of graphic evidence that the sun is changing, with fewer sunspots over time, and with a disparity between the northern and southern hemisphere.  More details HERE.

Posted in Analysis, Solar | 1 Comment

Study: fewer Caribbean hurricanes during Maunder Minimum of solar activity

I posted this before I read this comment:

Willis Eschenbach 

Riiiight … it is a spliced record, and the anomalous period is right before the splice. Not only that but the puff piece above is pre-publication, so they get to put their claims out there with no chance of anyone even reading their study, much less falsifying it, until after their version has gone round the world. No data, no code, no methods section, no nothing.

Sorry, but to me that’s scientific malfeasance. I’ll remember the names of the authors so I can avoid them in future.


When reading the study keep Willis’s critique in mind


Watts Up With That?

“We didn’t go looking for the Maunder Minimum, it just popped out of the data.”

Hurricane Katrina, Aug 28, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, Aug 28, 2005


Shipwrecks, tree rings reveal Caribbean hurricanes in buccaneer era

Records of Spanish shipwrecks combined with tree-ring records show the period 1645 to 1715 had the fewest Caribbean hurricanes since 1500, according to new University of Arizona-led research. The study is the first to use shipwrecks as a proxy for hurricane activity.

The researchers found a 75 percent reduction in the number of Caribbean hurricanes from 1645-1715, a time with little sunspot activity and cool temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere.

“We’re the first to use shipwrecks to study hurricanes in the past,” said lead author Valerie Trouet, an associate professor in the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. “By combining shipwreck data and tree-ring data, we are extending the Caribbean hurricane record back in time and that…

View original post 716 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Que Ball Sun Looking More Like the Dalton Minimum

Anthony Watts has an update on the progress of Solar Cycle 24 HERE:


According to the data Cycle 24 the lowest in 200 years which harkens back to the time of the Dalton Minimum and Solar Cycle 5

solar-cycle24-comparisonAnthony writes:

As you can see from the plots in Figure 1, the current level of activity of solar cycle 24 seems close to that of solar cycle number 5, which occurred beginning in May 1798 and ending in December 1810 (thus falling within the Dalton Minimum). The maximum smoothed sunspot number (monthly number of sunspots averaged over a twelve-month period) observed during the solar cycle was 49.2, in February 1805 (the second lowest of any cycle to date, as a result of being part of the Dalton Minimum), and the minimum was zero.(ref: Wikipedia)

The Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. During that period, there was only a  temperature variation of about 1 °C. However, was the lower number of sunspots the cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period, or was it related to some other phenomenon not well understood. Scientists have  suggested that a rise in volcanism was responsible for the cooling trend.

The Year Without a Summer in 1816 occurred during the Dalton Minimum. The prime reason for cooler temperatures that summer was the explosive eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia according to many scientists. Mount Tambora  was one of two largest eruptions in the past 2000 years.

The question in my mind is how to verify that volcanism increases during solar minimums? If you look at the chart below, it appears that major volcanos erupted during the cold periods. But, were those eruptions triggered by declining sun spots or some other phenomenon.

According  to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program database of eruptions, a count of all the eruptions that started in each year, from 1945 to 2015. it shows about 35 new eruptions per year, with a lot of variation from about 25 to 50 per year. The trend over the full period is basically flat, and while there was a slight increase on average from about 1997 to 2008. There were 26 eruptions in 2015 and 37 in 2014. There is no noticeable increase during the solar cycle 24 decline. Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism database has a lot to explore, more in a future post.

Your thoughts?

Posted in Analysis, Dalton, History, Solar, Volcanism | 19 Comments