A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Tambora eruption, the latest issue of Nature Geoscience focuses on past volcanic eruptions and their climatic and human impacts. The feature includes commentaries by Clive Oppenheimer and by Christian Pfister and Jürg Luterbacher on Tambora and the “year without a summer” as well as editorials, correspondence, and a book review on volcanoes. This week’s issue also contains a study presenting a synthesis of paleohydrology records from the Asian–Australian monsoon area covering the last 500 years. The authors find that rather than shifting southwards in response to Little Ice Age cooling and volcanic aerosols, as usually supposed, seasonal movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone actually contracted in both directions. This result suggests that during the LIA the gradual decline in insolation in the Northern Hemisphere due to orbital forcing alone (the precessional cycle) was overshadowed by larger changes in insolation in both hemispheres, likely a result of fluctuations in solar output and the impact of volcanic dust veils.