Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gillen D'Arcy Wood: Tambora cooling was very bad, so we should fear a little warming

Typhoon Haiyan: turning point in how West thinks about climate change?
Disasters in Southeast Asia have gone global before, as I learned in researching the eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815. Mount Tambora's massive detonation, the largest in thousands of years, threw the global climate system into chaos. Crops failed from Indonesia to Ireland, and millions of desperate refugees poured into the cities. Famine-friendly diseases, typhus and cholera, spread like wildfire. In an ultimate measure of desperation, some parents killed their own children out of mercy (tales of post-Tambora filicide are told from Bali to China to Switzerland).

Even in the U.S., where a much-feared famine was largely averted, thousands of people fled the Tambora weather of freezing New England for the promised land of the frontier.
...The alternative -- a world of hundredfold Haiyans and exhausted human beings -- is too gruesome to contemplate.


Anonymous said...

Gillen D'Arcy Wood has written a book, he's nothing else but an unashamed self pubicist.

But what a berk, conflating two different physical catastrophic events, one tropical cyclone with the other being - a stratovolcanic eruption and an enormous one at that VEI 7 - a massive explosion. and far more destructive than a typhoon.

The recent disaster in the Philippines is appalling but it is not an unprecedented storm - since the 1950's there have been 60 or so similar highest category typhoons, the trouble with Haiyan - it hit land.

Anonymous said...

I should qualify - Typhoon destructive factors, the greatest of which is the sea water storm surge caused by intense low pressure.
It is estimated that Tambora caused ±40,000 deaths not all directly from the eruption, some were post eruption trauma from starvation and diseases.
It is difficult to quantify Tambora which effected food comestibles and commodities on a world wide scale and for more than 4-5 years - a mainly untold death rate maybe of 100's of 000s.