This extraordinary geological event took place 199 years ago this week, and on the cusp of its bicentenary Tambora is finally getting its due. With the help of modern scientific instruments and old-fashioned archival detective work, the Tambora 1815 eruption can be conclusively placed among the greatest environmental disasters ever to befall mankind. The floods, droughts, starvation, and disease in the three years following the eruption stem from the volcano’s effects on weather systems, so Tambora stands today as a harrowing case study of what the human costs and global reach might be from runaway climate change.
Much of our medical science, and our modern public health institutions, originate in the Victorian-era battle against cholera. But only now, thanks to renewed scientific interest in the relation between cholera and climate change, can we make the connection between the worldwide cholera epidemic originating in 1817 and Tambora’s eruption thousands of miles away.
Tambora’s ripple effects were felt across the globe. In southwest China, the outlying mountainous province of Yunnan suffered terribly from the cold volcanic weather, losing crop after crop of rice to bitter winds and flooding rains. The situation was so extreme that desperate Yunnanese resorted to eating white clay, while parents sold their children in the town markets, or killed them out of mercy.
In the aftermath of this three-year famine, Yunnan farmers turned to a more reliable cash crop – opium – to ensure their families’ survival against future disasters. Within a few decades, opium was being grown all across Yunnan
It should be pretty obvious by now that conditions favourable to volcanoes is generally weather that is set up by the extent of the Antarctic sea ice
From the yellow line you can sea that the winter’s average is right on the button, although this is considered a record high for the ice shield’s extent. It is not enough to change the weather. What is happening has more to do with ocean currents.
The current is obviously connected to the relatively record low ice level of ice in the Arctic. Although the Arctic ocean is opened at three places it is essentially a land-locked part of the Atlantic.