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Major eruption cooled the climate but went unnoticed

Ice-core records suggest that a major 1809 eruption cooled Earth even before the Tambora eruption and 'the year without a summer'

1:13pm, November 30, 2009

A large, previously unknown volcanic eruption somewhere in the tropics helped make the 1810s the coldest decade of the past 500 years, a new analysis suggests.

Scientists have long known about the 1815 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora, an eruption whose climate-cooling effect was so large that 1816 is often called “the year without a summer” (SN: 8/30/2008, p. 16). Now, evidence from ice cores taken from polar regions suggests that another major eruption occurred in a remote, unpopulated region of the tropics just a few years before Tambora blew its top, says Jihong Cole-Dai, an environmental chemist at South Dakota State University in Brookings.

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