Climatic Change

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 97–120 | Cite as

The 1810s in the Baltic region, 1816 in particular: Air temperatures, grain supply and mortality

  • J. Neumann


The mean acidity of the ice core from Crête, Central Greenland, for the layer dating to 1816, one year after Tambora's eruption, has been found by Hammer, Clausen and Dansgaard (1980) to be nearly three times greater than that of the layer dating to 1884, one year after Krakatau's eruption. Despite the aforementioned fact, air-temperature data of the Baltic meteorological stations that took observations both in the 1810s and the 1880s (Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Trondheim, and Uppsala), do not show that the coldness of 1816 relative to 1814 was any greater than that of 1884 relative to 1882. Moreover, the year 1812 was much colder than 1816 when the two are compared with 1814 at all Baltic stations, although no known important eruption took place shortly before 1812. It seems plausible that the plumes reaching the Baltic Region following the two eruptions were too ‘thin’ to have produced any appreciable effect on air temperatures.

An examination of data available on grain harvests in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden does not indicate that either in 1816 or 1817 there was any note-worthy crop failure. In contrast, the year 1812 (a cold year) was marked by short-fall of the harvest, in consequence of which in 1813 there was a partial famine in Norway, partly because of war conditions (blockade by the British Navy) it was hard to get supplies from abroad.

Mortality data are also available for the above four countries. Mortality was relatively high in 1812 and/or 1813, but not in 1816–17.

No harvest or mortality data are available for Russia. Lists of famines in Russia show none in 1816. In 1817 there was a price rise in a limited area of the Empire.

All-in-all, the Baltic Region had not suffered from Tambora's eruption unlike the lower mid-latitudes of Western and Central Europe. It is suggested that the Region, as well as the south of European Russia, were spared as they were crossed by air masses whose stratosphere had become depopulated of small volcanic particles, while the troposphere became cleansed of particles through washout by rain previously.


Europe Acidity Washout Meteorological Station Mortality Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abel, W.: 1974, Massenarmut und Hungerkrisen im vorindustriellen Europa. Versuch einer Synopsis. Hamburg and Berlin: Paul Paray.Google Scholar
  2. Brunt, D.: 1925, ‘Periodicities in European Weather’, Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. London, Ser.A 225, 247–302.Google Scholar
  3. Deirmendjian, D.: ‘On Volcanic and Other Particulate Turbidity Anomalies’, Advances in Geophysics, Vol. 16, New York and London: Academic Press, pp. 267–296.Google Scholar
  4. Dettwiller, J.: 1981, ‘frLes tempèratures annuelles à Paris durant les 300 annèes’, La Météor, No. 25, 103–109.Google Scholar
  5. Garnier, M.: 1974, fLongues séries de mesures de précipitations en France, Zone 1 (Nord, Région parisienne et Centre). Mém. de Météorologie Nationale, No. 53, Fasc. 1, Paris.Google Scholar
  6. Hammer, C. U., Clausen, H. B., and Dansgaard, W.: 1980, ‘Greenland Ice Sheet Evidence of Post-Glacial Volcanism and its Climatic Impact’, Nature 288, 230–235.Google Scholar
  7. Handbook of Geophysics and Space Environments, S. L. Valley (ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Hofmann, J. and Rosen, J. M.: 1982, ‘Balloon-Borne Observations of Stratospheric Aerosol and Condensation Nuclei During the Year Following the Mt. St. Helens Eruption’, J. Geophys. Res. 87, 11.039–11.061.Google Scholar
  9. Hofmann, J. and Rosen, J. M.: 1983a, ‘Stratospheric Sulfuric Acid Fraction and Mass Estimate for the Volcanic Eruption of E1 Chichon’, Geophys. Res. Letters 10, 313–316.Google Scholar
  10. Hofmann, J. and Rosen, J. M.: 1983b, ‘Sulfuric Acid Droplet Formation in the Stratosphere after the 1982 Eruption of El Chichon’, Science 222, 325–327.Google Scholar
  11. Kondratyev, K. Ya., Bojkov, R. D., and Boville, B. W. (eds.): 1984, Volcanoes and Climate, Rep. of a Meeting at the Inst. for Lake Res., Acad. Sci., Leningrad, USSR. World Climate Project 54 (WMO/ TD No. 166), ICSU-WMO.Google Scholar
  12. Langway, C. C., Jr., Clausen, H. B., and Hammer, C. U.: 1988, ‘An Interhemispheric Volcanic Time Marker in Ice Cores from Greenland and Antarctica’, Ann. Glacial. 10, 1–7.Google Scholar
  13. Lamb, H. H.: 1972, Climate, Present, Past and Future, Vol. I. London: Methuen & Co.Google Scholar
  14. List, R. J.: 1958, Smithsonian Meteorological Tables, 6th rev. ed. Smithsoman Misc. Collections, Publication 4014. Washington, Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  15. Manley, G.: 1974, ‘Central England Temperatures: Monthly Means 1659–1973’, Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 100, 389–405.Google Scholar
  16. Marshall, J.: 1833, A Statistical Display of the Finances, Navigation and Commerce of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, etc. London, Haddon.Google Scholar
  17. Mossop, S. C.: 1963, ‘Stratospheric Particles at 20 km’, Nature 199, 325–326.Google Scholar
  18. Mossop, S. C.: 1964, ‘Volcanic Dust Collected at an Altitude of 20 km’, Nature 203, 824–827.Google Scholar
  19. Mossop, S. C.: 1965, ‘Stratospheric Particles at 20 km Altitude’, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 29, 201–207.Google Scholar
  20. Neumann, J.: 1973, ‘Radiation Absorption by Droplets of Sulfuric Acid Water Solutions and by Ammonium Sulfate Particles’, J. Atmos. Sci. 30, 95–100.Google Scholar
  21. Neumann, J.: 1974, ‘The Sizes of Stratospheric Volcanic Particles over Southeast Australia after Mt. Agung's Eruption in 1963’, Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 100, 384–388.Google Scholar
  22. Post, J. D.: 1977, The Last Great Subsistence Crisis of the Western World, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Sorokin, P. A.: 1975, Hunger as a Factor in Human Affairs, Gainesville: University of Florida Press.Google Scholar
  24. Stothers, R. B.: 1985, ‘The Great Tambora Eruption in 1815 and its Aftermath’, Science 224, 1191–1198.Google Scholar
  25. Wales-Smith, B. G.: 1971, ‘Monthly and Annual Totals of Rainfall Representative of Kew, Surrey, from 1697 to 1970’, Meteor. Mag. 100, 345–360.Google Scholar
  26. World Weather Records: 1944, Smithsonian Misc. Collections 79, Washington: Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar


  1. Andersen, O.: 1973, ‘Dødelighedsforholdene i Danmark 1735–1839’ (Mortality rates in Denmark 1735–1839). Nationalekonomisk Tidsskrift 2, 277–305.Google Scholar
  2. Falbe-Hansen, V: 1889, Stavnsbaands-Løsningen og Landreformerne Set Fra Nationaløkonomiens Standpunt (Abolition of Land-Boundness and Land Reforms from the Point of View of National Economy). Copenhagen: G.E.C. Gad.Google Scholar
  3. Pedersen, S.: En Fœstebondes Liv. Erindringer og Optegnelser af Gårdfœester og Sognefoged Søren Pedersen (Life of a Farmer-Tenant. Reminiscences and Records of Estate-Leaser and Parish Executive Officer Søren Pedersen). Manuscript record edited by Karen Schousboe. Copenhagen: Landhistorik Selskab (Danish Agricultural History Society).Google Scholar
  4. World Weather Records. See Section ‘General’ of References. The particular volume publishes Copenhagen's long series of temperature observations.Google Scholar


  1. Johanson, V. F.: 1924, Finlands Agrarpolitiska Historia, Vol. I: Från 1600-Talet till År 1870 (Finland's Agrarpolitical History, Vol. I: From the 1600s to year 1870). Lantbruksvetenskapliga Samfundets i Finland Meddelanden N:o 13 (Society of Scientific Agriculture, No. 13). Helsingfors.Google Scholar
  2. Soininen, A. M.: 1974, Vanha Maataloutemme. Maatalous ja Maatalousväestö Suomessa Perinnäisen Maatalouden Loppukaudella 1720-Luvulta 1870-Luvulle (Old Traditional Agriculture in Finland in the 18th and 19th Centuries). Historical Researches, Publications of the Finnish Historical Society No. 96. Helsinki. (Published also in J. Scientific Agricultural Soc. of Finland 46, Supplement.)Google Scholar
  3. Turpeinen, O.: 1979, ‘Fertility and Mortality in Finland Since 1750’, Popul. Studies 33, 101–114.Google Scholar
  4. Wild, H.: 1881. See Section ‘Russia’ of References.Google Scholar


  1. Birkeland, B. J.: 1949, ‘Old Meteorological Observations at Trondheim. Atmospheric Pressure and Temperature During 185 Years’, Geof. Publikasjoner 15, No. 4, Oslo.Google Scholar
  2. Derry, T. K.: 1965, ‘Scandinavia’, in C. W. Crawley (ed., The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. IX: War and Peace in an Age of Upheaval, 1793–1830, Cambridge University Press p. 480–490Google Scholar
  3. Drake, M.: 1969, Population and Society in Norway 1735–1865, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Drake, M.: 1979, ‘Norway’, in W. R. Lee (ed.), European Demography and Economic Growth, London: Croom Helm, pp. 284–318.Google Scholar
  5. Linvald, A.: 1952, Kong Christian VIII, Norges Statholder 1813–1814 (King Christian VIII, Norway's Regent 1813–1814). Copenhagen, Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  6. Mykland, K.: 1978, Norges Historie, Vol. 9: Kampen om Norge 1784–1814 (History of Norway, Vol. 9: War about Norway). Oslo, J. W. Cappelen.Google Scholar
  7. Steen, S.: 1933, Del Norske Folks Liv og Historie Gjennem Tidene, Vol. VII (Life and History of the Norwegian People through the Ages, Vol. VII). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard).Google Scholar


  1. Dando, W. A.: 1981, ‘Man-Made Famines: Some Geographical Insights from an Exploratory Study of a Millenium of Russian Famine’, in J. R. K. Robson (ed.), Famine: Its Causes, Effects and Management, New York-London-Paris: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, pp. 139–154.Google Scholar
  2. Kahan, A.: 1968, ‘Natural Calamities and Their Effect upon Food Supply in Russia (An Introduction to a Catalogue)’, in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropeas, Vol. 16. München, Ost-Europa Institut. Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, pp. 353–377.Google Scholar
  3. Kazmer, D. R. and V Kazmer: 1977, Russian Economic History, A Guide to Information Sources, Detroit: Gale Research Co.Google Scholar
  4. Robbins, R. G., Jr.: 1979, ‘Famine in Russia’, in J. L. Wieczynski (ed.), The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, Vol. II, New York: Academic International Press, pp. 45–51.Google Scholar
  5. Wahlén, E.: 1881, Der Jährliche Gang der Temperatur in St. Petersburg nach 118-jährigen Tagesmitteln., Repertorium für Meteorologie, Vol. VIII, No. 7, St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  6. Wild, H.: 1881: Die Temperatur-Verhältnisse des Russischen Reiches, Supplementband zum Repertorium für Meteorologie. St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar


  1. Hamberg, H. E.: 1906, ‘Moyennes Mensuelles et Annuelles de la Temperatur à l'Observatoire de Stockholm’, Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar 40, No. 1.Google Scholar
  2. Historisk Statistik föt Sverige, Del. 1: Befolkning (Population) 1720–1967, 2nd ed.: 1969. Stockholm: Central Statistical Bureau.Google Scholar
  3. Historisk Statistik för Sverige, Del. II: Väderlek, Lantmäteri, Jordbruk, Skogsbruk, Fiske T. O. M. År 1955 (Climate, Land Surveying, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries to Year 1955): 1959. Stockholm: Central Statistical Bureau.Google Scholar
  4. Åmark, K.: 1915, Spannmåhhandel och Spannmåhpolitik i Sverige 1719–1830 (Grain Trade and Grain Policy in Sweden 1719–1830). Stockholm: I. Marcus.Google Scholar
  5. Sommarin, E.: 1917, Del Skånska Jordbrukets Ekonomiska Utveckling 1801–1914, Vol. I (Economic Development of the Scanian Agriculture 1801–1914). Skrifter Utgivna av de Skånska Hushållningsällskapen (Publications of the Scanian Economic Society). Lund.Google Scholar
  6. Tidblom, A. V: 1875–76, Einige Resultate aus den Meteorologischen Beobachtungen, Angestellt auf der Sternwarte zu Land in den Jahren 1741–1870. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 12.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Neumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Emeritus, Department of Atmospheric SciencesThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations