It has certainly been a harsh winter and an unusually cold spring. The latest forecast calls for possibly significant amounts on Friday of…more snow! Here at Birch Mountain, we’ve had to postpone our spring start date because of frigid weather and soaked soil, but we are hoping to begin next week, when maybe the snow will really be gone!
I began to wonder why we are stuck in this weather cycle. I still don’t fully understand why spring is so cold this year, possibly with the chill continuing well into the middle of April, according to forecasts. However, my digging resulted in my discovery of the “year without summer”, which occurred in 1816. Due to the massive volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in present-day Indonesia, roughly 38 cubic miles of rock and earth were ejected into the atmosphere. (Our on-line materials calculator can’t handle those numbers!)
In New England, a dry fog hung over the land, turning red in the sun. In May, frost killed most of the crops that had been planted already. More frosts were reported in June! In July and August, lake and river ice were reported as far south as Pennsylvania, and that summer in Connecticut, there were huge temperature fluctuations with summer days of 95 degrees rapidly plummeting to near freezing in hours. You get the picture. 1816 was the coldest year on record for centuries in Europe, and caused the worst famine of the 19th C. Europe.
I am now reconsidering my complaints about the weather so far this year. We in our lifetime have never had to contend with a year without summer, so let’s hope that we can adjust to frosts and wintry mixes coming our way in March and April. It is still early spring, according to the calendar.