- A major weather modifier, erupting volcanoes.
In the not too distance past, exploding volcanoes had considerable impact on what happens to the weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Take the year 1816 for example. In New England, it was known as "The Year There Was No Summer," the "Poverty Year" and "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death." Moreover, it wasn't just New England, the entire Northern Hemisphere suffered. In Ireland people starved to death because potato crops failed, while the resulting famine caused cholera to spread across northern Europe bringing widespread death and horror.
In June of 1816, it snowed 6 inches in New Hampshire. In July, corn crops failed throughout New England, with grain crops almost obliterated by cold rain and snow. Who knows what happened here?...
Google was not available in the mid-1800s, nor was the telephone or United Press, news of events in other parts of the world was slow to come. But the wonderful part of the human mind is that we will not relax in our quest to know, "who, what, where, why, when and how?"
Eventually, the meteorological facts of life in 1816 were laid out. The period of March to September was marked by a series of strong and frequent invasions of dry Arctic air across New England. The best thinkers of the day agreed that the most likely cause was volcanic activity propelling massive amounts of ash into the stratosphere reflecting heat from the sun away from Earth and cooling everything down.
Weather and geological experts noted that a number of major volcanic eruptions preceded 1816: Soufriére and St. Vincent in 1812: Mayon and Luzon in the Philippines during 1814; Tambora in Indonesia during 1815.
The Tambora eruption is estimated to be the most violent in historical times. The explosion blasted over 150 to 180 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere. For a comparison, the infamous 1883 eruption of Krakatoa ejected a mere 20 cubic kilometers of material into the air, and yet it affected tree growth throughout the Northwest and sunsets in the US and Great Britain for several years after.
This is another demonstration that although nations and people are separated by thousands of miles, what happens on one side of the Earth could well affect all life on the other side of the planet. According to the Volcano World blog, for example:
In Sakura-Jima, Japan volcano-watchers reported that explosions from Sakura-jima during April 11-15 produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 7,000-11,000 ft.
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea reported that during April 9-13 steam-and-ash plumes rose to altitudes of 5,600-7,200 ft.
Manam, Papua New Guinea reported low-level ash-and-steam plumes from Manam during mid-April.
Satellite images show that seismic activity at Karymsky, Russia ash-and-gas explosions or hot avalanches may have occurred daily.
On Batu Tara, Komba Island, Indonesia a low-level eruption plume from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 8,000 ft on April 13. The next day, a steam-and-ash plume visible on satellite imagery again rose to an altitude of about 8,000 ft.
Indonesian geologists reported that white plumes from Ibu volcano rose to an altitude of 5,000 ft. During early April, seismicity increased.
On Egon, Flores Island, Indonesia, during April, white plumes from Egon blasted to an altitude of 5,900 ft.
Volcano National Park at Kilauea, Hawaii, reported that during the last week of March, lava Halema'uma'u Crater produced brown ash plumes and sulfur dioxide emission rates from the summit area fluctuated between 700-1,500 tons per day.
Could this be why it's so cold around here this spring? But then perhaps El Nino and El Nina are plotting something, or could Donald Keyhoe in his book, The Flying Saucers Are Real, be right, and aliens from outer space are doing it to us?