Posted by Ken on May 28, 1998 at 12:01:31:
In response to A Cloudy Subject, written by Marie-Bernadette on May 28, 1998 at 11:20:52
] I had heard about the volcanic eruption disrupting the weather world-wide and wondering how that would have affected the sugaring off of the maple trees. I think it must have extended the season but by how much? You wouldn't happen to know anything about maple syrup would you, Snarkhunter? Your mention of the brillant sunsets and the years 1810-20 being cold were helpful details to me.
Well, I know that I eat maple syrup on pancakes & waffles, to the exclusion of all other condiments (-: As light a grade as I can find; pity that we rarely get anything better than medium amber down here--I suppose you can only find the lightest grades in New England.
I also know that sugaring off requires an extended period of warm days & frosty nights for the trees to produce sap properly, & that the first sap harvested produces the lightest (& finest) syrup. Oh yes, I also know that an average tree produces a gallon of sap, and that 40 gallons of sap boil down to one gallon of syrup. My best guess is that extended cold weather would hamper all of this, but I suppose it might just as well extend the harvest on into June or later. Sorry, you'll have to talk to a real New Englander for a real answer (-:
Most of what I remember on the climate & weather comes from a Scientific American article from, oh, 15 years ago or so. I know it's not much to go on, but patiently searching the indexes of the mag from, say, 1975 to 1990 should locate it for you. If you find it, it will also have a short bibliography of useful material, I dare say.
The sunsets are a little on faith; however, if the milder affair of Krakatoa & the almost insignificant affair of Mt. St. Helens can produce brilliant ones, it is inconceivable to me they didn't have 'em in 1816 & 1817. (I vaguely remember the article talking about them I think, but only vaguely, so I might be extrapolating memory wise.) Of course, no one at the time knew why things were so cold (or sunsets so beautiful), so mentioning the volcano would be anachronistic, IMHO. Also, you'd get better descriptions of the sky from contemporary accounts of Krakatao, when people did realize what the dust was doing. So you could fudge it a little.
The article didn't have an explanation for why the decade was abnormally cold, I don't think, but did suggest that Tambura combined with a natural cycle to make 1816 so unusual in the annals.
- English Summer, 1816 Caroline 12:53:48 6/02/98 (2)
- Turner and sunsets Linden 19:55:03 5/28/98 (0)
- Thank you very much, sir (nfm) Marie-Bernadette 13:02:45 5/28/98 (0)
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