Published: June 8, 2012

In 1815, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia sent enough ash into the sky to disrupt the world’s weather for the next year. In New England, 1816 became known as “The Year Without a Summer.” Snow fell in June and July. Crops and animals died. Tens of thousands of people picked up and left; their search for greener pastures became an early chapter in a larger story of westward expansion.

This week on BackStory, we tackle extreme weather: how we’ve tried to predict it, control it, make sense of it.  Along the way, we discover that our responses to wind, sleet, and rain have said as much about us as about the natural world.