An environmental drama played out on the world stage in the late 18th century when a volcano killed 9,000 Icelanders and brought a famine to Egypt that reduced the population of the Nile valley by a sixth.
A study by three scientists from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a collaborator from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, demonstrates a connection between these two widely separated events. The research, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is the latest addition to NASA's Life on Earth series of Web features at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/volcano_nile.html.
The investigators used a computer model developed by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies to trace atmospheric changes that followed the 1783 eruption of Laki in southern Iceland back to their point of origin. The study is the first to conclusively establish the linkage between high-latitude eruptions and the water supply in North Africa.
Aha, a new area ripe for investigation!