“The 852/3 CE Mount Churchill Eruption: Examining the Potential Climatic and Societal Impacts and the Timing of the Medieval Climate Anomaly in the North Atlantic Region”

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In this article, Timothy Newfield and his research team use palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, historical records and climate model simulations to assess the potential broader impact of the 852/3 CE eruption of Mount Churchill, Alaska, was one of the largest first-millennium volcanic events. They also use the fortuitous timing of the 852/3 CE Churchill eruption and its extensively widespread tephra deposition of the White River Ash (east) (WRAe) to examine the climatic expression of the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly period (MCA; ca. 950–1250 CE) from precisely linked peatlands in the North Atlantic region.

The presence of the WRAe isochron also demonstrates that no long-term (multidecadal) climatic or societal impacts from the 852/3 CE Churchill eruption were identified beyond areas proximal to the eruption. Historical evidence in Europe for subsistence crises demonstrate a degree of temporal correspondence on interannual timescales, but similar events were reported outside of the eruption period and were common in the 9th century. The 852/3 CE Churchill eruption exemplifies the difficulties of identifying and confirming volcanic impacts for a single eruption, even when the eruption has a small age uncertainty.

Read the journal article.