The year 1816 is still known to scientists and historians as “eighteen hundred and froze to death” or the “year without a summer.” It was the locus of a period of natural ecological destruction not soon to be forgotten. During that year, the Northern Hemisphere was slammed with the effects of at least two abnormal but natural phenomena. These events were mysterious at the time, and even today they are not well understood.
First, 1816 marked the midpoint of one of the Sun’s extended periods of low magnetic activity, called the Dalton Minimum.
This particular minimum lasted from about 1795 to the 1820s. It resembled the earlier Maunder Minimum (about 1645-1715)that was responsible for at least 70 years of abnormally cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere. The Maunder Minimum interval is sandwiched within an even better known cool period known as the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about the 14th through 19th centuries.
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