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Benjamin Franklin made what may have been the first connection between volcanoes and global climate ... He observed that during the summer of 1783, the climate was abnormally cold, both in Europe and back in the U.S. The ground froze early, the first snow stayed on the ground without melting, the winter was more severe than usual, and there seemed to be "a constant fog over all Europe, and [a] great part of North America."
What Benjamin Franklin observed was indeed the result of volcanic activity. An enormous eruption of the Laki fissure system ...in Iceland caused the disruptions. ...the Laki event also produced an ash cloud that may have reached up into the stratosphere. ...The effects, of course, were most severe in Iceland; ultimately, more than 75 percent of Iceland's livestock and 25 percent of its human population died from famine or the toxic impact of the Laki eruption clouds. Consequences were also felt far beyond Iceland. Temperature data from the U.S. indicate that record lows occurred during the winter of 1783-1784. In fact, the temperature decreased about one degree Celsius in the Northern Hemisphere overall. That may not sound like much, but it had enormous effects in terms of food supplies and the survival of people across the Northern Hemisphere.
Production of wheat outside of the U.S. is projected at 23.7 billion bushels, 5.8 percent smaller than last year’s production and the smallest in four years. Large year-over-year declines are reported for Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Canada.
Yolo County vegetable grower Jim Durst had some yield reductions in his asparagus earlier this year, and harvest is running up to two weeks late for his summer vegatables, including tomatoes, melons, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, peppers and cucumbers.
Farmers throughout California’s great Central Valley face a weather-related challenge that they haven’t seen in recent years—the cool, wet spring and subsequent lack of soaring summer temperatures have put virtually all crops behind by 10 days to two weeks.