The Year Without a Summer occurred during the Dalton Minimum

Recently, astrophysicist Piers Corbyn forecast that we’re headed into a Little Ice Age. He made that forecast because circulation patterns are beginning to look like the Maunder and Dalton Minimums.

The Dalton Minimum, a period of low solar activity named after English meteorologist John Dalton, lasted from about 1790 to 1830, says this article on Wikipedia.

“Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum,” the article continues, “the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°c decline over 20 years.”

“The precise cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period is not well understood.”

Not well understood? Do you suppose the fact that it was “a period of low solar activity” might have had something to do with it?

The prime reason for that particular cold spike, says Wikipedia, was the colossal eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, one of the two largest eruptions in the past 2000 years, and which caused the Year Without a Summer in 1816.

In other words, the The Year Without a Summer occurred during the Dalton Minimum.

“Recent papers have suggested,” the article continues, “that a rise in volcanism was largely responsible for the cooling trend.”

I contend that the rise in volcanism was triggered by the low sunspot count. With that in mind, I think we should be preparing for ever more volcanic activity as we enter this new sunspot minimum.

See entire article:

Thanks to John the 1st for this link

“Looking at the Wikipedia chart on the Dalton minimum,” says John, “it appears that yearly sunspot totals were less than 100. So 100 divided by 365 gives you .27 of a sunspot per day.”

30 thoughts on “The Year Without a Summer occurred during the Dalton Minimum”

  1. Cause after effect? I seem to recall that 1812 was particularly cold in Moscow and thereabouts as Napoleon recorded, Tambora may have extended it, but that was 1816, in the latter half of the Dalton minimum.
    (but that was a Wikipedia quote, I don’t think they think the Sun has much to do with climate)

  2. .27 per day is right but will give a skewed perspective when compared to todays overly inflated spot numbers due to bette tech allowing us to count those which would NEVER have been seen 1816. The fact that even with all this tech, the numbers today look as low as those of the Dalton period could mean that we are actually much lower than then.

  3. The “The Year Without a Summer” on Wikipedia shows a temperature map and Russia shows positive anomaly. How come, if the Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused it?

    The worst effect was in France.

    We have right now a non-existing Spring. Last night frost. Middle of May in IRELAND. The last few weeks were wet and cold and my heating is on from time to time.

  4. So… they “don´t know what caused the Dalton minimum”. Someone has the beat the C02-crap out of them!

  5. So 100 divided by 365 gives you .27 of a sunspot per day.” . . .

    While this is true, the ability to count tiny sunspots in the Maunder period are vastly different than today. Today shows 8 spots. In the days of the Maunder I don’t think they would have been able to count more than 4 and perhaps even less than that if they were looking at the sun today.

  6. From a popular German paper, today:
    “What is this for a May 2012? Five days ago, yet the whole of Germany was sweating at 30 degrees. Now coming back to the winter – with snow and minus four degrees in many parts of Germany!”

    What a spring!

  7. But they are covering this up even further by counting sun spots that are smaller than they did back in those days. Does anyone know how many sunspots we would have today if we counted the SAME SIZE sunspots?

  8. I’m fascinated with the science insights that seem to be surfacing these days. The solar inertial movement (Ivanka Charvatova and Carl Smith?) tied in with the changing solar output, tied in with the volcanic activity changes,(Robert Felix?),tied in with the heliosphere magnetic component opposing and so modulating the atmospheric cosmic ray input that modulates the low level cloud thickness and so the solar reflectivity in concert with the sub oceanic (more moisture?)and atmospheric (more ash and SO2?) contributions of the volcanic activity, swinging our climate to the colder, or (when solar output increases) the warmer, like one huge clockwork slot machine system ringing in the changes with cycles upon cycles upon cycles. I’m thinking we are due for 6 cherries to line up very soon and we win the (Professor Vladimir Paar and Robert Felix?) 70,000 year glaciation cycle.

  9. counting sunspots is not as simple as looking at the sun (something one should never do without proper eye protection, or even better, appropriate equipment.
    smoked glass, negatives and polaroid sunglasses, among others, are not sufficient to prevent serious eye damage and even possible blindness.
    more info on counting:

  10. The peak numbers of ssn for normal cycles are usually much greater than 0.27 per day. This could have happened during the Maunder minimum but certainly not during Dalton.
    For example, the average numbers for last cycle (C23), which may be considered as going from 1997 to 2008 (12 years), including 1996 and 2009 are the following

    year dayly-av.
    1996 8.66
    1997 21.50
    1998 64.30
    1999 93.31
    2000 119.93
    2001 111.00
    2002 104.05
    2003 63.71
    2004 40.54
    2005 29.83
    2006 15.22
    2007 7.50
    2008 2.86
    2009 3.13

    The numbers for the Dalton minimum would be nearly 40 % smaller than the above. Notice that even 2008 and 2009 with so many spotless days, approx. 265 each, had still a total ssn count of more than 1000 for the entire year.


    Dalton is very low, but still can be considered business as usual, an extreme case but still normal.
    The Maunder minimum is whole different story, because the cycles themselves seem to disappear for some time.

  11. Wikipedia has a lot of rubbish on it. How about this piece of rubbish from the greenhouse effect page-

    “If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody was the same distance from the Sun as the Earth is, it would have a temperature of about 5.3 °C.”

    They maintain this rubbish despite the clear evidence the Moon heats to 123 degrees C during the day and is mind boggling cold during the night.

    Oh, thats right – the Moon isn’t a blackbody is it ?

    There is absolutely no evidence for the climate scientists “trick” of quartering the solar radiation to perform their radiation balance calculations – yet they do it all the time.

    There is no validity to the claim as made in Wikipedia – evidence shows that it is not reality and is therefore completely irrelevant to any sort of argument !!!!

    This thought bubble statement is clearly wrong – surely the “blackbody” is still illuminated by 1360 W/sq m over half of the sphere ?

    As I said the statement is meaningless – the truth is we don’t know what would happen !!

    • I usually trust wikipedia for the definitions and a first reference to historical facts, but you’re absolutely right in reaching your own conclusions by thinking by yourself.
      Even normal scientific papers may have rubbish on them, for example, I don’t think the “big bang” theory is correct. IMO it’s a stupid model that will be- very soon- replaced by a more reliable theory of the Universe, specially when we start to understand the Sun a little better. Nonetheless, the “big bang” model is considered a scientific fact by modern Astrophysics… as was the “ether” in the XIX century until it was disproved by the Michelson Morley experiment.
      BTW, GW is also accepted by good part of the climatologists nowadays … and so on, and so forth.

  12. Regarding the volcanic activity, I consider that the large eruption of Laki could be considered as part of the Dalton minimum too, at its beginning. (

    Wikipedia also lists another VEI6 during the Dalton minimum, in 1809
    as “undocumented eruption”

    The cooling period since the early 1600’s, and even in the previous century, up to the beginning of the XX century could not have been caused by the large eruptions like Tambora and Laki, because the observed effect of these eruptions (as happened with Pinatubo too) lasts for approx. 1-2 years, while the cooling periods corresponding to the LIA’s last for many decades or centuries.

    The only logical explanation is that the Sun is central factor for both the low average temperatures and the increased volcanic activity (indirectly).

  13. Sunspots last more than a day. Click on the hyperlink of landscheidt (under the picture of the sun) to see how much the present solar cycle (SC) 24, beginning in 2008, looks like solar cycle 5, beginning in 1798. The present cycle is even a bit lower in activity than SC 5. We are heading towards a very cold future. Professor Cornelis de Jager told me: The new solar minimum will be long and deep, very deep.

  14. I can easily accept a connection between below normal solar activity and a cooling period. I can even easily accept a connection between an increase in volcanism and a cooling period. I do not readily perceive, therefore have a difficult time, connecting an increase in volcanism with a decrease in solar activity. I can’t wrap my mind around the connection there at all. What is the mechanism that links these two?

  15. “I contend that the rise in volcanism was triggered by the low sunspot count. With that in mind, I think we should be preparing for ever more volcanic activity as we enter this new sunspot minimum.”

    Robert, I believe you are correct. Dr. Landscheidt has linked solar activity to the “Centre of mass of the solar system”. I believe that same center of mass is “Stirring” the Earth’s core causing more volcanic eruptions and has done so many times in the past.

    “I (Landscheidt) have shown for decades that the sun’s varying activity is linked to cycles
    in its irregular oscillation about the centre of mass of the solar system (the solar retrograde
    cycle).” “ As these cycles are connected with climate phenomena and can be computed for
    centuries, they offer a means to forecast phases of cool and warm climate.”

    Also, Mt Tambora erupted in 1815 towards the end of the Little Ice Age. Furthermore, the majority of the volcanoes erupted after the beginning of all the cold periods during the past 4500 years. It appears that volcanoes accelerate the cold trends, and if true, should give the world a one to two degree drop in temperature. (Another Little Ice Age) I also contend that the human CO2 emissions will drastically increase as the human population burns every stick they can find to keep warm. “CO2 will not save us!

  16. About supervolcanoes: in the last two months it seems Laacher See volcano had no activity; maybe some energy is accumulating prior an eruption. Maybe this is only speculation but…

  17. You’ve noted the rise in vulcanism in many of your articles. How is the minimal sunspot count a trigger of higher vulcanism?? Is there a possibility that the rise in vulcanism is a result of more instruments available to detect it ie all of the subterranean activity that has been found recently?? Thank you for all of your hard work. I find this website fascinating, and I especially appreciate your articles on the fallacy of AGW.

    • This article is about the year without a summer during the Dalton Minimum. Well, I’m all for that, since down here in south Texas we’ve just gone through two years without a winter. Then this morning on the Weather Channel they’re now predicting it to get 20 degrees above normal in their extended forecast…

  18. All the comparisons folks have mentioned between the Dalton and or Maunder sun spot counts and what we see today are correct. We have better tech now and see much smaller spots then was possible. However there are a at least 3 different methods for counting sunspots all of which use a variable scaling factor that theoretically accounts for observing conditions and the type of telescope (binoculars, space telescopes, etc.). I believe that this would help to smooth out the differences between the observations taken in 1610 and those taken today. Space and can explain it far better than I can.
    I only took astronomy in college because we got to lay on our backs in the observatory in the dark during class and they had wicked awesome field trips way out in the boonies away from the light polution. Usully we got togther with the geology class and… well… young folks will be young folks. Good times.

  19. “The precise cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period is not well understood.”

    It’s due to changes in the cosmic ray flux. Volcanic eruptions can worsen the effect of a high cosmic ray flux and help reach a “tipping point”, but its the cosmic rays that account for medium term climate variations (i.e. between major “ice ages”). Read the Chilling Stars by Svensmark for details.

  20. Ah, 6+ Billion on the Earth. Even a little ice age would end the good times quickly. Pestilence, global thermonuclear war,and all that jazz. Funeral pyres visible from outer space.

Comments are closed.