“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”
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.