Climate change and a horror story

Here is a fantastic, nearly implausible story about how climate change in the early 1800s lead to one of the most iconic horror stories in history.

The year 1816, was known throughout Europe as “the Year Without a Summer”. There was snow in June and July and massive food shortages. Overall, there were drastic weather changes globally. The cause of the summerless 1816, was the massive eruption of the volcano Mt Tambora in 1815, on the Indonesian island of Sambawa. This was the largest volcanic eruption in human history. For reference, the eruption of Mt. Tambora was 1,000 times greater than the eruption of the impossible to pronounce volcano that caused travel disruptions in Iceland in 2010! At least 70,000 died immediately from the eruption of Mt. Tambora and ~200,000 the following year.

Fast forward to 1816. To escape the dreary weather back in London, a young group of poets decided to go to Switzerland. On Lake Geneva, they encountered major thunderstorms due to volcano-induced climate change, and were forced to stay indoors and tell ghost stories.

As it happens, during one of these thunderstorms one of these poets (Lord Byron) asked the rest of the group to write ghost stories. Present in Geneva that evening were PB Shelley and Mary Godwin (later Shelley).

In Geneva, Mary Godwin conceived the story we now know as Frankenstein.

Climate change created Frankenstein, literally!


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