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The Year(s) Without A Summer
January 21, 2014 7:32 AM   Subscribe


 
It sure feels like this winter's about 10 years long am I right?
posted by gyc at 7:37 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Winter? What winter?

Unlike 2014, it seems what this article is talking about is global year-round lowering of temperatures. Right now we just have an unusual distribution of weather.
posted by brokkr at 7:38 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:41 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


So basically we need a cosmic level event to undo some of our manmade climate change. (Except for all the people it'll kill.)
posted by immlass at 7:42 AM on January 21


I realize that I am nit-picking, but illustrating that article with a section of the Bayeux Tapestry makes about as much sense as illustrating an article on current polar melting with a picture of Queen Elizabeth I. It's not like there isn't contemporary art that would do....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:49 AM on January 21 [22 favorites]


The very first comment on that article is a complaint about the use of the Bayeaux tapestry there, followed by the author saying, "I know I know but Halley's Comet..."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:56 AM on January 21


It's not like there isn't contemporary art that would do....

Contemporary art of Halley's comet?
posted by Marauding Ennui at 7:56 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I realize that I am nit-picking, but illustrating that article with a section of the Bayeux Tapestry makes about as much sense as illustrating an article on current polar melting with a picture of Queen Elizabeth I. It's not like there isn't contemporary art that would do....

The more we can blame on the Normans the better.
posted by Thing at 8:01 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


A white raven...
posted by capricorn at 8:06 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


"upsidown"?
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:07 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Contemporary art of Halley's comet?

Contemporary to 536. It's not like Art stopped between Romulus Augustulus and William I.... Show some love for the Early Middle Ages, geeze!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:16 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


I propose the noun "jourducken" for these news articles built using a research paper at the core, about which some other journalist has written at length, quoted in a huge block and stuffed inside an easy-to-read mass-media-friendly, let's-make-it-current-by-mentioning-a-popular-tv-show shell.
posted by chavenet at 8:18 AM on January 21 [43 favorites]


My usual trick for finding the full article has failed. (Search for a sentence from the article, works more than you'd think.)

My favorite historical astronomical event is the Grave of the Sun in Estonia. A meteorite fell around 400BC, then nearby people built a wall around it and started producing iron tools. What's cool is we have various written and oral accounts of the meteorite fall, like this from Apollonius of Rhodes
...where once, smitten on the breast by the blazing bolt, Phaethon half-consumed fell from the chariot of Helios into the opening of that deep lake; and even now it belcheth up heavy steam clouds from the smouldering wound.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on January 21 [8 favorites]


... let's-make-it-current-by-mentioning-a-popular-tv-show shell

Come on, now-- that red comet is the prime mover in ASOAF.
posted by jamjam at 8:27 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


A most dread portent.
posted by stbalbach at 8:43 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


This is really a fascinating story combining climate science, archaeological findings and old myths (the Edda, the Kalevala) being interpreted in a new way. I discovered it last year when a passing remark by an archaeologist ("... and the well-known climate change of 536 AD ...") caught my ear.

If you want to go deeper, I recommend the article "Twilight of the gods? The 'dust veil event' of AD 536 in critical perspective" by Bo Gräslund and Neil Price, archaeologists at the university of Uppsala (Sweden) and the university of Aberdeen.
posted by Termite at 8:58 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


The brightness suggests that on this journey through the inner solar system, Halley's comet passed particularly close to the sun, she says.

Has Halley's comet's aphelion varied much from orbit to orbit? That doesn't seem consistent with the steady predictability of its return.
posted by The Tensor at 9:31 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


gyc: "It sure feels like this winter's about 10 years long am I right?"

I just got done explaining to a right-wing high school friend that this winter is not sufficient evidence to demonstrate that climate change is a crock of shit.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:36 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I just got done explaining to a right-wing high school friend

Did you mention that the unusually cold weather in the lower 48 was caused by unusually warm weather in the North Pacific?
posted by goethean at 9:41 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


My usual trick for finding the full article has failed.

Info on paper. It's as yet unpublished, as far as I can tell. There's also this one, which suggests "a small volcanic input" as well for this event.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:55 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Contemporary to 536. It's not like Art stopped between Romulus Augustulus and William I.... Show some love for the Early Middle Ages, geeze!


So, basically this, but with a bunch of snow everywhere.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:06 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


This really reminds me of Velikovsky.
posted by MtDewd at 11:09 AM on January 21


Bard on the previous thread, I was sure the cause was going to be gay marriage. Comet in the sky, guys kissing, portents all around.
posted by happyroach at 11:27 AM on January 21


Has Halley's comet's aphelion varied much from orbit to orbit? That doesn't seem consistent with the steady predictability of its return.

It's been very reliable the last three centuries, returning between about 75 and 76 years, but in older observations that was more variable, up to a range of between 74 to 79 years.^ It also has not been identified as appearing prior to 240 BCE, so 536 could easily have been just its 10th or 11th return, versus the ~30th we're around now. So it's possible its orbit has been stabilizing, but of course it's also very possible that despite its current regular orbit it is subject to a close passage to any solar system body during any individual orbit, which would have the effect of introducing a perturbation. There is every reason to believe in the possibility of a closer approach to the sun in 536, both in comparison to recent observations and to its earlier orbital cycles.

All supposition, naturally. It's possible. And we can't really go back and test the hypothesis especially easily.

MtDewd: Yeah, I grew up sort of scoffing at the guy, and his specific claims/suggestions are ludicrous in many specifics, but the general trend over my lifetime has been a realization that our solar system, and the universe generally, is more chaotic than stable. Cf. Shoemaker-Levy, and the identification of numerous impact craters, and the burgeoning support for the Alvarez hypothesis. So it's not so much that he was right as that he was wrong in the same direction that the science got righter, if you take my meaning.
posted by dhartung at 1:20 PM on January 21


I blame the space vampires.
posted by homunculus at 10:59 PM on January 21


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