Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Jun 2011
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Volcanic and ENSO effects in China in simulations and reconstructions: Tambora eruption 1815
D. Zhang1,2,3, R. Blender1, and K. Fraedrich1 1Meteorologisches Institut, KlimaCampus, Universität Hamburg, Germany
2Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
3Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Abstract. The co-operative effects of volcanic eruptions and ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation) on the climate in China are analyzed in a millennium simulation for 800–2005 AD using the earth system model (ESM) ECHAM5/MPIOM/JSBACH subject to anthropogenic and natural forcings. The experiment includes two ensembles with weak (5 members) and strong (3 members) total solar irradiance variability. In the absence of El Niño and La Niña events, volcanoes, which are the dominant forcing in both ensembles, cause a dramatic cooling in West China (−2 °C) and a drought in East China during the year after the eruption. The recovery times for the volcano induced cooling vary globally between one and 12 yr; in China these values are mostly within 1–4 yr, but reach 10 yr in the Northeast. Without volcanoes, after El Niño events the summer precipitation is reduced in the North, while South China becomes wetter (indicated by the Standardized Precipitation Index, SPI, for summers, JJA); La Niña events cause opposite effects. El Niño events in the winters after eruptions compensate the cooling in most regions of China, while La Niña events intensify the cooling (up to −2.5 °C). The simulated impact of the eruption of the Tambora in 1815, which caused the "year without summer" 1816 in Europe and North America and coldness and famines for several years in the Chinese province Yunnan, depends crucially on the ENSO state of the coupled model. A comparison with reconstructed El Niño events shows a moderate cool climate with wet (in the South) and extreme dry anomalies (in the North) persisting for several years.

Citation: Zhang, D., Blender, R., and Fraedrich, K.: Volcanic and ENSO effects in China in simulations and reconstructions: Tambora eruption 1815, Clim. Past Discuss., 7, 2061-2088,, 2011.
D. Zhang et al.
D. Zhang et al.


Total article views: 1,599 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
398 971 230 1,599 22 69

Views and downloads (calculated since 01 Feb 2013)

Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 01 Feb 2013)



Latest update: 23 Jun 2017
Publications Copernicus