Find out why 1816 was known as the year without a summer.
The year 1816 was known as the year without a summer because of the eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia. In 1815 it threw billions of cubic yards of dust over 15 miles into the atmosphere. Because the dust penetrated the stratosphere, wind currents spread it throughout the world. As a consequence of this volcanic activity, in 1816 normal weather patterns were greatly altered. Some parts of Europe and the British Isles experienced average temperatures 2.9F to 5.8F (1.6C to 3.2C) below normal. In New England heavy snow fell between June 6 and June 11 and frost occurred every month of 1816. Crop failures were experienced in Western Europe and Canada as well as in New England. In 1817, the excess dust had settled and the climate returned to more normal conditions.