Feeling the chill of a Year Without Summer: The June snowstorm of 1816.


new england snow pd

Two hundred years ago today, on June 7, 1816, it was snowing across much of New England, the upper (U.S.) mid-Atlantic and parts of Canada. Yes, snowing. The curious weather event had begun the previous day, June 6, and continued into the following day, though most places experienced several days of very cold temperatures, whether or not they actually saw snow. It’s hard to imagine snow at the dawn of summer, but it was happening, and few of the observers could make heads or tales of it. They did not yet know it, but they were witnessing one of the most dramatic and memorable manifestations of what has come to be known as the Year Without Summer.

The world in 1816 was experiencing what we now call a volcanic winter. Fourteen months previously, in April 1815, a volcano called Tambora, now in Indonesia, erupted catastrophically, pumping the atmosphere…

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