It happened in 1816 and is bound to happen again.
In 1816 the northern hemisphere suffered through the year without summer. During the previous winter the Mt Tambora volcano erupted. Thousands froze to death due to the bitter cold the atmospheric ash clouds created.
Frost killed most of the early crops as late as May that year in North America. Frost and snow killed even crops more in June. Riots, arson, and looting flared up in Europe as common food stores became scarce. Lake and river ice were recorded in Pennsylvania in July and August. 1816 also was a year of historic low solar activity as measured by 1816 era telescopes counting sunspots.
Do we have anything like this to fear in 2011? All the stars, including our own, are aligning for a repeat performance by Mother Nature. Consider:
We are currently experiencing another prolonged solar minimum. Even with 21st century telescopes we can see that the sun is only producing tiny sun specks and weak sunspots.
Article continues below this advert:
The northern hemisphere has experienced 3 years in a row of record breaking cold winters and snow fall. It snowed in all 50 States last winter. As in 1816, Canada and the rest of North America are experiencing record rainfalls this summer. Much of the Canadian harvest has been lost due to flooding. Some of the ski slopes in the western US reopened in July. Today, South America is experiencing a brutally cold winter killing farmers along with their livestock. It snowed in the Amazon. For two years in a row it has snowed in Australia during summertime.
Of course, we have not had a sizable volcanic eruption like Mount Tambora....yet. General Stanley McChrystal can point to Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano creating the climate necessary for his ouster. The star crossed episode with Rolling Stone was a result of Eyjafjallajökull blowing its top and causing airline travel to come to a stop over much of Europe. Three of Eyjafjallajökull eruptions in the past have preceded Iceland's Katla eruptions. And the gigantic Katla volcano produces massive eruptions.
And Katla is well past due to blow her top. Recent seismic readings have recorded massive earthquake swarms all around Katla. The President of Iceland gave the dire warning to the world that a Katla eruption is imminent. Not if, but when, and soon.
Our 24/7 "news cycle" has come under scrutiny for "overblown" stories causing a "political earthquake" over the Shirley Sherrod controversy. "What will the fallout be," some wonder? Overblown, earthquakes, & fallout. The 24/7 "news cycle" is trying to tell us something. Maybe we just have to learn to "read all about it" between the lines.