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How did the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 affect the UK? This lesson investigates weather data from that time to find out if there were any impacts and if so, what were they and how serious.

Key questions

  • Where and what is Tambora?

  • What is a stratovolcano?

  • What happens when a stratovolcano erupts?

  • How might this affect global weather patterns?

  • How did the eruption from Tambora affect the UK?

  • What was the effect on people’s everyday lives?

Key ideas

Stratovolcanoes can produce powerful eruptions with an associated range of devastating impacts for people living nearby and far away. When Tambora erupted in 1815, NASA reports that it put enough ash into the atmosphere to reduce incident sunlight on the Earth’s surface, causing global cooling.

This event, then resulted in what became termed ‘The Year without a Summer’, when much hardship was reported across the UK as cold and rain ruined crops and left many hungry.

Extreme weather is when a weather event is significantly different from the average or usual weather pattern. This may take place over one day or a period of time. Extreme weather can have impacts on people and environments

The Tempest database has documented accounts of extreme weather going back over hundreds of years from a rich variety of diverse sources that include: newspaper reports; diaries, letters and postcards, as well as official meteorological records. This data base can be searched using dates, types of weather and impacts as queries and the results mapped.

Additional resources

  • World maps / atlases

  • Internet

  • Digital mapping software access

Web links


Digimap for Schools 

Royal Meteorological Society 



File nameFiles

File type



TEMPEST Lesson three


456 KB

TEMPEST Lesson three (1)


1 MB

TEMPEST Tambora impacts worksheet


294 KB

TEMPEST Weather data worksheet


455 KB

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