There have, however, been times in history when the weather has fluctuated to extremes.

Advertisement

During the third millennium BC, a period of increased warmth, reduced cloud cover and relatively few storms seems to have produced bumper harvests, while a similar stint in the first century AD attracted the attentions of the Roman Empire.

The worst periods of hostile weather often follow a major volcanic event. Of particular note was 1816, the ‘year without summer’ when, after Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia, volcanic dust blocked the Sun, generating near-incessant rainfall that caused harvests to fail and livestock to die.

Advertisement

On the brighter side, the yellowy-tinge to the evening skies may have inspired some of JMW Turner’s most-celebrated paintings.

This article was first published in the September 2015 issue of History Revealed and answered by one of our Q&A experts, Miles Russell.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement