Two large volcanic eruptions contributed to extreme cold temperatures during the early 1800s, one of the coldest phases of the Little Ice Age. While impacts from the massive 1815 Tambora eruption in Indonesia are relatively well-documented, much less is known regarding an unidentified volcanic event around 1809. Here, we describe the spatial extent, duration, and magnitude of cold conditions following this eruption in northwestern North America using a high-resolution network of tree-ring records that capture past warm-season temperature variability. Extreme and persistent cold temperatures were centered around the Gulf of Alaska, the adjacent Wrangell-St Elias Mountains, and the southern Yukon, while cold anomalies diminished with distance from this core region. This distinct spatial pattern of temperature anomalies suggests that a weak Aleutian Low and conditions similar to a negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation could have contributed to regional cold extremes after the 1809 eruption.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science