Friday, February 11, 2011

'Volcanic' Winter

Blame Iceland. Yes, Iceland. To anyone experiencing crazy weather this winter there is a theory that it's all because of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in Iceland last spring, spewing ash all over northern Europe and causing air travel to grind to a halt. While this eruption might not have been big enough to cause a true 'volcanic winter', our local weather guy reported the other day that the ash in the northern atmosphere pushes the cold air down from Canada giving us more snow.

Who knows if he's right but we sure have had A LOT of snow. Here in New England we have received almost record amounts (I think it was over 71" at last count by the Boston Globe) where a lot of that would have been rain if the temps would actually get out of the 20s.

A true volcanic winter is caused by a really really big eruption, where the ash in the atmosphere actually obscures the sun causing a global dip in temps. You can read a list of the past volcanic winters here, many of them causing famines that lasted up to three years.

Here's what got my attention today: latest news out of Iceland is another big volcano is acting up, and this one is big enough to cause a volcanic winter. The Telegraph reports that the Bárdarbunga volcano is showing signs of increased activity. This volcano dwarfs Eyjafjallajokull and what's really cool is this as reported by The Telegraph:

"The last recorded eruption of Bárdarbunga was in 1910, although volcanologists believe its last major eruption occurred in 1477 when it produced a large ash and pumice fallout. It also produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on earth."

Wow, this news was cool enough to snap me out of my blogging break (caused by two very energetic little girls) and find the time to research this more. Hopefully if Bárdarbunga blows it won't cause a planetary mess, but it will at least remind us that humans are most definitely NOT in charge. I was planning a return visit to Iceland in the next year or so, perhaps I wait and the meantime I think I'll work on expanding my garden and storing emergency "volcano food".

A quick thank you to all my followers who have contacted me to see how I'm doing since I've been "off the air". I'm doing very well, just busy with two kids that are a handful, luckily a very happy and giggly handful, but still a handful.


  1. Yippee. Doing the happy dance here! So glad to see you. I know how busy you are, but I hope one day you will be back at blogging more often.
    As fas as the volcanic ash theory - I believe it. I need something to blame this mess on and a volcano is good enough for me.

  2. What Rae said. I've missed seeing you around the blogosphere, but I am doubly glad to see you're back! Not sure how I feel about that volcano showing up, though...

  3. Glad to see you have some time to write.

    I hadn't thought about Iceland's volcano eruption as the cause for this year's breaking winter records in the amount of snow and low temperatures -- Oklahoma had a record breaking termperature of -31 degrees.

    Look forward to seeing more of you.

  4. Rae, DJan and Lynn: you three are SO sweet! I always have ideas for blogs and then I end up crashing (or cleaning up major messes) during the kid's nap time. But they won't be little and energy-draining forever...will they? :)

  5. Not forever -- you weren't! :)

  6. I am happy to see an entry from you - and explaining this dreadful winter no less! I know you've had your share of snow this year. Our snow this year pales compared to last and for that I am happy. It has been terribly cold though. Sounds like your little ladies are keeping you happily busy. Take good care and it was so nice to "see" you again.


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