Alternate Earth Campaign
535 AD event
David Keys, Ken Wohletz, and others have postulated that a violent volcanic eruption, possibly of Krakatoa, in 535 may have been responsible for the global climate changes of 535–536.14 Keys explores what he believes to be the radical and far-ranging global effects of just such a putative 6th-century eruption in his book Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World. Additionally, in recent times, it has been argued that it was this eruption which created the islands of Verlaten, Lang, and the beginnings of Rakata —all indicators of early Krakatoa’s caldera’s size. To date, however, little datable charcoal from that eruption has been found.
Between 536 and 551 AD tree ring growth was very low throughout Europe and many other parts of the world, including North America, New Zealand and China. Contemporary writers in southern Europe described what modern climate scientists call a ‘dust veil event’ which sharply reduced solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface. This depressed temperatures, disrupted weather patterns, reduced biological productivity, including food crops, and resulted in famine and social disruption during the 6th century. The consequences of the dust veil were experienced worldwide. In Britain, the period 535-555 AD experienced the worst weather of the 6th century. In Mesopotamia, there were heavy snowfalls and in Arabia there was flooding followed by famine. In China, in 536, there was drought and famine and yellow dust rained down like snow. In Korea, 535 and 536 were the worst years of that century in climatic terms with massive storms and flooding, followed by drought. It has also been suggested that the occurrence of the Justinian Plague, a pandemic that affected the Byzantine Empire in the years 541-42 is linked to the climatic events five years earlier.