Summer is meant to be hot with ample growing time for crops. What would a season be like if this did not happen? 1816 proved that such an event could happen.
William Klingamen and Nicholas Klingamen in The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World and Changed History examine the weather in 1816 and what took place in the United States and Europe. The Tambora volcano in Indonesia sustained a powerful eruption in 1815 that left atmospheric residue that changed the climate. Temperatures and precipitation underwent a dramatic change in 1816. The records reveal extremes as the devastation continued through the year.
The authors state that the weather had been changeable for several years prior to this event. In 1816 New England saw snow and bitter cold as late as June. Farmers watched their newly planted crops perish in the unseasonal storm. Sheep which had been sheared for the summer died of exposure. After the snow melted, drought set in along the eastern United States. Between the late winter storm and lack of moisture, staple crops such as wheat, corn, and oats did not fully develop. Fruit trees had already lost their blooms leaving nothing to harvest.