There Was a Year Without a Summer Once
There Was a Year Without a Summer Once


Hot cocoa, sledding down snow-covered hills,
the cheer of the holiday season. Yeah, we all love this magical festive atmosphere,
if… it happens in winter, not summer. But what if you found yourself staring at frozen
streets during what should be the hottest time of the year? Sounds exactly like that: a fun “what if”
thought experiment that’s purely hypothetical. But this time, it’s not! Welcome to 1816:
The Year Without a Summer… Europe
It’s June, and Londoners are waking up in a fantastic mood because today is the first
day of summer. You’re excited too because you have all kinds of plans for this beautiful
day. You get out of bed, and after a good breakfast, you get ready to head out on a
day of fishing. You open the front door only to be blasted in the face with a cold snowy
wind. “That’s REALLY odd!” But all you can do is shrug your shoulders, blame the
abnormal weather on some random cold front, and cancel that fishing trip. There’s always
tomorrow… Days go by, and the weather still hasn’t
changed. Your June seems to have mistaken itself for January. No fun outdoor activities,
no swimming, no picnics, no summer… The city is making the best of it and enjoying
the unexpected shift of seasons. Kids throw snowballs. Couples ride horse-drawn sleds
through the streets. And you happily read a book by the fireplace after a long (and
cold!) day of fishing. But only the beginning is so good. After a few weeks, the sudden
winter starts to really bother people… Crisis begins all over Europe a few months
later. The Thames is frozen. Farmers across the continent are losing their harvest to
frost and lack of sunshine. Cows can’t feed on fresh grass, so they can’t make milk.
Snowstorms and blizzards could knock you over. There are such severe frosts at night, that
dangerous ice forms on the roads by the morning. All the food shops are closed because there
is no food. Fortunately, you have a lot of frozen fish thanks to those chilly fishing
trips you endured all summer! The new year comes, yet nothing has changed.
Grain prices have increased tenfold! But nobody has any money – factories and plants have
stopped due to the anomaly frost. And that frost makes it difficult to get through the
icy streets. It’s even harder to feed the horses that pull the carriages. (Cars won’t
be around till another 70 years, mind you!) Over in Germany, inventor Karl Drais is struck
with an idea. He creates the first prototype of the bicycle. It doesn’t have pedals – you
just kick your feet off the ground to use this “walking machine” – but that it
works! Perhaps we have the summerless year to thank for inspiring Drais to gift us with
what would become our beloved bikes? Yeah, tell all that to Switzerland. They’ve
long declared a state of emergency. Always trying to look on the Bright Side here, where
would be today without the historic wintery summer of 1816? A group of friends has come
here on vacation. They wanted to have some fun on the sunny shores of Lake Geneva. But
instead of this, they’re stuck indoors the whole time. It was cold and stormy outside
the window, so, naturally, they decided to read their own scary tales to each other for
fun. Among these people were Lord Byron and Mary Shelley. He wrote an apocalyptic poem
called Darkness, and she came up with her novel Frankenstein! Anyway, you’re not hanging out with writers
and poets without a care in the world. You need money, so you decide to sell all your
property: your beautiful house, the barn, all your livestock, even your boat! But instead
of the fortune it’s all worth, you barely get anything since the currency has fallen.
But you get enough for a cheap ticket to leave the Old World and head to… America
Sorry, but North America is abnormally cold too. Hurricanes with hail, heavy downpours
in the spring, frosts, and snow in the summer. Cornfields are frozen. Stocks of food are
depleted. Thousands of people migrate to the south. Some very Northern states like Vermont
are almost empty. Well, that was a wasted trip. This time, you know exactly where to
go to escape this infinite winter… Asia
Again, bad idea. You’ve come to China and what do you see… Monsoons have wrecked the
provinces. Heavy rains have flooded rice paddy, there’s frost and snow every night. It seems
like there are no warm or safe places on the entire planet. But then you remember that your old friend
lives in India. It can’t be cold there! Indeed, there’s no snow, no rain, and no
frost. Instead of this, a severe drought has begun here due to the long winter in other
parts of the globe. Oh, come on! You scrap up the last amount of cash you can and buy
a ticket to… Latin America
Hello, Costa Rica! At long last, you see perfect weather – the Caribbean coast is incredible!
For the next 6 months, you sunbathe and make a living on fishing. That’s when a vacationing
young British couple tells you that the longest winter is finally over. You love your new
life here, but you still decide to go back home to Europe and try to figure out what
on Earth caused summer to disappear completely… Well, there are 3 factors that came together
to create the ultimate winter apocalypse. 1) From 1795 to 1820, there was minimal sun
activity. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Earth received far less energy from the
sun than ever before. Due to the lack of solar heat on the surface of our planet, the average
temperature decreased by about 3-5°F. Doesn’t seem like much, but it IS enough to send the
Northern Hemisphere into a mini Ice Age! 2) The temperature of the seas and oceans
decreased as well because of that sun problem. As a result, all the winds changed direction.
The Atlantic’s Gulf Stream current deviated from its usual path and stopped heating the
shores of Western Europe with tropical winds and waters from the South. 3) Last but certainly not least, there was
the main reason for the long loooong winter of 1816: volcanos. It all started 4 years ago in 1812. That year,
a volcano on the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies awoke from its slumber. A
second on Sangir Island in Indonesia woke up too. Then, in 1813, a third volcano in
Japan shook the sleep off itself. And yet again, in 1814 in the Philippines, a fourth
fiery mount decided to join others. The temperature on the planet plummeted because of all the
volcanoes. However, all of them were babies compared to the main boss… The previous spring on April 10, 1815, Indonesia’s
Mount Tambora exploded in a fiery rage. A few hours later, the entire island of Sumbawa
was covered with a layer of volcanic ash almost 5 ft thick! And this was only the beginning.
60 square miles of ash were thrown into the atmosphere. It covered the sky with such a
dense layer that it was able to block the sun’s rays like a giant curtain over the sky. Now, volcanic ash is unusual. It’s not the
same ash that forms when you burn something. A volcano spews out a lot of chemical elements
from the depths of our planet. And some of these elements are poisonous for living creatures. In fact, volcanic ash has an entirely different
chemical structure. Ordinary ash can be washed off with water easily. But if you try to wash
volcanic ash off, it almost turns into cement. And because of these highly dangerous substances
in volcanic ash, acid rain can start. Breathing such air is dangerous for a person’s health.
Also, aircraft can’t fly through a volcanic cloud. However, the ashes will settle on the
ground sooner or later. And here’s where the good part begins. The ash a volcano leaves in its wake contains
not only dangerous substances but useful ones as well! The ash falls on the ground, and
this soil becomes very rich. Even after large catastrophic eruptions (like in 1815), the
vegetation of the planet is quickly restored. Such soil is especially favorable for growing
grapes, so I guess that’s one way to look on the bright side! The moral here: When you get a kick in your
volcanic ash, instead of whining about it, just start a winery! Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other cool videos
I think you’ll enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and always stay on the Bright Side
of life!

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