Extreme weather events of 535–536

In the years 535 and 536 AD, there were several notable differences in the world's climate.

The event also falls within the European long-standing pessimum the migration period - a connection between the two has not been investigated.

Contemporary accounts

Sources as of Prokopios, Michael the Syrian, or Flavius ​​Cassiodorus report for the year 536 of low temperatures with snow in summer, and crop failures. Likewise, the stories report that, even at noon the sun cast only a dim shadow, and that the circumstances otherwise accompany an eclipse, lasted almost a year. Even in contemporary Chinese and Indonesian sources is of unusual atmospheric events the speech, so what appeared to a global phenomenon.

Scientific evidence

An analysis of tree rings through the dendrochronologists Mike Baillie of Queen's University in Belfast shows an abnormally low growth of the Irish oak for 536 and after a partial recovery a further sharp decline 542nd annual Similar patterns are also available through the annual rings of different tree species in Sweden, Finland and California's Sierra Nevada and in the Alerce in southern Chile known.

Possible Causes

These differences could have been caused by ash and dust quantities, which passed through the impact of a comet, a meteorite or by a massive volcanic eruption in the atmosphere and so brought about a volcanic winter.

Contemporary reports that refer to the actual cause is not known. It is therefore to assume that the triggering event took place in what was then a remote, but not necessarily uninhabited before the event region of the world, so that corresponding messages are not even arisen particularly strong local devastation or remained very local and therefore not could be included in the surviving records at this time.

Volcanic eruption

1999 claimed David Keys, supported by the work of the American volcanologist Ken Wohletz, in a book, that these disorders could have been caused by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa.

In 1984, led another researcher, R. B. Stothers, climate change from 536 to an outbreak of the volcano at Rabaul Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea back.

2010 Ilopango in El Salvador has been suggested as the cause.

Prove the recent analyzes of ice cores of Antarctica " a unique sulfate maximum at 542 ± 17 years," what is " good for the maximum at 536 AD in Greenland " fits and suggests a massive volcanic eruption near the equator. An explosion of lying between Sumatra and Java Krakatoa appears for the supporters of the volcano theory now most likely. According to a controversial theory could " Krakatoa before 535, a high mountain ( 2000 m ) " have been, the " largely disappeared at a super - eruption in the sea " and Sumatra and Java separated from each other, their common part he was before.


Compared with the Tunguska event may have a causative meteorite or comet for the climate changes from 536 in multiples of size have had. The size of the meteorite would have to have been about 500 meters, and he would have exploded at an altitude of 20 km.

Recent research lead back the climate change on the potential impact of multiple comet fragments. This theory is supported by findings consist of tiny beads in the Greenland ice that evaporated from condensates rock material ( spherules ), occupies. As a possible impact crater one of an approximately 640 meter diameter impactor caused crater in the Gulf of Carpentaria off Australia and a smaller in the North Sea off Norway were identified whose formation fits into the time frame.

Possible consequences

The poor harvests of the year 536 loaded the late antique world. A few years later ( 541-544 ) raged the first outbreak of the Plague of Justinian in the Mediterranean world. Italy was devastated in addition by the Gothic wars ( 535-552/562 ). After these events, the final decline of ancient culture in Italy began.