Picture of the Day

Iceland volcano eruption in 1783-84 did not spawn extreme heat wave

An enormous volcanic eruption on Iceland in 1783-84 did not cause an extreme summer heat wave in Europe. But the eruption triggered an unusually cold winter, according to a Rutgers-led study. The study could help improve predictions of how the climate will respond to future high-latitude volcanic eruptions. The eight-month eruption of the Laki volcano, beginning in June 1783, was the largest high-latitude eruption in the last 1,000 years. It injected about six times as much sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere as the 1883 Krakatau or 1991 Pinatubo eruptions, according to the researchers. The eruption coincided with unusual weather across Europe. The summer was unusually warm with July temperatures more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the norm, leading to societal disruption and failed harvests. The 1783–84 European winter was up to 5 degrees colder than average.

Visit Website | Image credit: Alan Robock/Rutgers University-New Brunswick