Back to overview

A collection of sub-daily pressure and temperature observations for the early instrumental period with a focus on the "year without a summer" 1816

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Brugnara Y., Auchmann R., Broennimann S., Allan R. J., Auer I., Barriendos M., Bergstrom H., Bhend J., Brazdil R., Compo G. P., Cornes R. C., Dominguez-Castro F., van Engelen A. F. V., Filipiak J., Holopainen J., Jourdain S., Kunz M., Luterbacher J., Maugeri M., Mercalli L., Moberg A., Mock C. J., Pichard G., Reznckova L., van der Schrier G.,
Project Future and Past Solar Influence on the Terrestrial Climate II
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Volume (Issue) 11(8)
Page(s) 1027 - 1047
Title of proceedings CLIMATE OF THE PAST
DOI 10.5194/cp-11-1027-2015

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The eruption of Mount Tambora (Indonesia) in April 1815 is the largest documented volcanic eruption in history. It is associated with a large global cooling during the following year, felt particularly in parts of Europe and North America, where the year 1816 became known as the “year without a summer”. This paper describes an effort made to collect surface meteorological observations from the early instrumental period, with a focus on the years of and immediately following the eruption (1815–1817). Although the collection aimed in particular at pressure observations, cor- respondent temperature observations were also recovered. Some of the series had already been described in the litera- ture, but a large part of the data, recently digitised from original weather diaries and contemporary magazines and news- papers, is presented here for the first time. The collection puts together more than 50 sub-daily series from land observatories in Europe and North America and from ships in the trop- ics. The pressure observations have been corrected for tem- perature and gravity and reduced to mean sea level. More- over, an additional statistical correction was applied to take into account common error sources in mercury barometers. To assess the reliability of the corrected data set, the variance in the pressure observations is compared with modern climatologies, and single observations are used for synoptic analyses of three case studies in Europe. All raw observations will be made available to the scientific community in the International Surface Pressure Databank.