Dalton Minimum

Dalton Minimum

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The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton
John Dalton
John Dalton FRS was an English chemist, meteorologist and physicist. He is best known for his pioneering work in the development of modern atomic theory, and his research into colour blindness .-Early life:John Dalton was born into a Quaker family at Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, Cumberland,...

, lasting from about 1790 to 1830. Like the Maunder Minimum
Maunder Minimum
The Maunder Minimum is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time....

 and Spörer Minimum
Spörer Minimum
The Spörer Minimum was a 90-year span of low solar activity, from about 1460 until 1550, which was identified and named by John A. Eddy in a landmark 1976 paper published in Science titled "The Maunder Minimum"...

, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years.

The precise cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period is not well understood. Recent papers have suggested that a rise in volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

 was largely responsible for the cooling trend.

While The Year Without a Summer
Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

, in 1816, occurred during the Dalton Minimum the prime reason for that particular cold spike was the eruption of a Super Colossal Volcano named Mount Tambora
Mount Tambora
Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zone beneath it. This raised Mount Tambora as high as , making it...

in Indonesia which was (jointly) one of the 2 largest eruptions in the past 2000 years.

Further reading

A detailed analysis with the auroral and solar data has been given by Wilfried Schröder, N. N. Shefov in a paper in Ann. Geophys. 2004. Also details can be found in Wilfried Schröder, Das Phänomen des Polarlichts (The Aurora in Time), Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgeselllschaft 1984, and Science Edition, Bremen, 2000.