1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR8212 CEA-CNRS-UVSQ & IPSL, CE Saclay l'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, UMR8539 X-ENS-UPMC & IPSL, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau, France
3DClim, Météo France, 42 Avenue G. Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse, France
4Centre de Recherche d'Histoire Quantitative, UMR6583 Université de Caen–CNRS, 14032 Caen, France
5Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 1 rue Jussieu, 75238 Paris, France
Abstract. This paper uses a method of atmospheric flow analogues to reconstruct an ensemble of atmospheric variables (namely sea-level pressure, surface temperature and wind speed) between 1781 and 1785. The properties of this ensemble are investigated and tested against observations of temperature. The goal of the paper is to assess whether the atmospheric circulation during the Laki volcanic eruption (in 1783) and the subsequent winter were similar to the conditions that prevailed in the winter 2009/2010 and during spring 2010. We find that the three months following the Laki eruption in June 1783 barely have analogues in 2010. The cold winter of 1783/1784 yields circulation analogues in 2009/2010. Our analysis suggests that it is unlikely that the Laki eruption was responsible for the cold winter of 1783/1784, of the relatively short memory of the atmospheric circulation.