Voice 1: Whether you embrace summer as a time to put on fun T-shirts and play in the sun, or grumble that you have to put the air conditioner on, it's fairly certain that it will arrive every year at about the same time But in 1816,the world had a bit of a weather shock. This was the year that summer forgot to arrive.
Voice 2: On the tenth of April, 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted, killing ten thousand people in just a few hours. More than one thousand five hundred metres were blown of the top of the four thousand three hundred metre tall volcano during the eruption. Nearly four hundred cubic kilometres of ash were shot up into the atmosphere. Voice 1: After several months, the dense ash cloud split up into separate clouds that floated off slowly to other parts of the world. In the early spring of 1816, a mysterious red fog hung over north-eastern America. Neither wind nor rain cleared the fog away, and the sun could not be seen. What could be the cause? In June, just as summer should have been arriving, a severe spell of snow and frost gripped the area. Such strange weather had never been known before at this time of year.
Voice 2: The frost and snow killed off most of the crops that had been planted. This resulted in the price of food increasing dramatically all over America, and many poor people starved to death. Snow continued to fall throughout July and August.
Voice 1: Freezing temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests throughout Europe. Families in Britain and in mainland Europe travelled long distances begging for food. Riots broke out in Germany and France, and grain warehouses were looted.
Voice 2: In Italy, red snow fell throughout the summer, and on the other side of the world in China there was mass starvation and wide-spread famine because summer crops had failed due to freezing temperatures.
Voice 1: No country seemed to escape the drastic effects of the ash from Mount Tambora. In India, cholera broke out due to unexpected monsoons, with the disease spreading right up to Russia.
Voice 2: The blanket of ash that hung in the atmosphere over half the world in the middle of 1816 resulted in mass malnutrition, starvation and disease. 1816 was the year that has gone down in history as the year when the sun forgot to shine. This was the year when half the world waited for a summer that never arrived. Think of 1816 the next time you complain that Hong Kong summers are too hot for your liking.