While not often talked about, the Tambora explosion is one of the most important climate-altering events in recent history. Gillen Wood is the first person to look at the Tambora explosion on a global level. While it has been acknowledged that the explosion itself altered the global climate, he is the first one to go into great detail and discuss the connections some people didn’t know existed. Tambora is a small sample-size for the drastic effects of fast onset climate change including devastating famine, complete seasonal climate alterations and more. Tambora also shows that any event around the world could potentially have radically negative effects and not recognizing these potential effects could be detrimental.
For example, the 2011 Fukushima disaster following a tsunami caused by an earthquake led to probably the worst nuclear meltdown of the 21st century so far. While the situation was contained A LOT of nuclear material and radiation was released, which is still affecting the Japanese landscape and its citizens. Most of the damage from this disaster won’t be seen for years as different types of cancer will develop and other adverse effects will evolve. What hasn’t been studied closely that should be are the effects of the radiation from the Fukushima site drifting across the Pacific Ocean and reaching places like Australia, the United States, Mexico and parts of Central and South America. It will take years to exactly delineate the longterm effects, but organizations like the Centre for Research on Globalization already have discovered some things like the fact that there is a field of radioactive debris the size of California that collided with North America at various points from the disaster and one test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radioactivity from Fukushima. Many tests on various fish species have been conducted and many come back with alarmingly raised levels of carcinogens, radioactivity, and nuclear material. Fukushima is just one example of how a single negative event, no matter how big or small, can effect the world on a global scale and we still do not know the extent to which Fukushima has affected the world.
Tambora gave the world “A Year Without a Summer” in New England, it reportedly even snowed in Dennysville, Maine at the end of June, 1816. The current trend of climate change is heading towards drastic warming rather than cooling, but with climates rapidly changing because of the pouring of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the climate could go to either end of the temperature spectrum. Tambora serves as a cautionary tale of researching specific events to monitor their long term consequences and as a tale of what could happen if global warming and climate change are not addressed immediately.