A volcanic signal observed in ice cores from both polar regions six years prior to Tambora is attributed to an unknown tropical eruption in 1809. Recovery of dacitic tephra from the 1809 horizon in a Yukon ice core (Eclipse) that is chemically distinct from andesitic 1809 tephra found in Antarctic ice cores indicates a second eruption in the Northern Hemisphere at this time. Together with the similar magnitude and timing of the 1809 volcanic signal in the Arctic and Antarctic, this could suggest a large tropical eruption produced the sulfate and Antarctic tephra and a minor Northern Hemisphere eruption produced the Eclipse tephra. Nonetheless, the possibility that there were coincidental eruptions of similar magnitude in both hemispheres, rather than a single tropical eruption, should not be discounted. Correctly attributing the source of the 1809 volcanic signal has important implications for modeling the magnitude and latitudinal distribution of volcanic radiative forcing.
Geophysical Research Letters
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Yalcin, K., C. P. Wake, K. J. Kreutz, M. S. Germani, and S. I. Whitlow (2006), Ice core evidence for a second volcanic eruption around 1809 in the Northern Hemisphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L14706, doi:10.1029/2006GL026013.
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.