What mackerel and a volcano can tell us about climate change

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, a scrap collector gathers materials in a demolished neighborhood near a chimney spewing smoke in Beijing, China. China’s push for a global climate pact is partly because of its own increasingly pressing need to solve its serious environmental problems, observers said Sunday, Dec. 13, as China said the Paris deal shows it is dealing with climate change “as a responsible big country.” (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A group of researchers say an Indonesian volcano eruption, a centuries-old weather disaster and a surge in the consumption of mackerel could inform present-day scientists about today’s era of climate change.

Scientists with the University of Massachusetts and other institutions made the findings while conducting research about a long-ago climate calamity in New England that was caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.

A cooled climate led to deaths of livestock and changed fish patterns. That left many people dependent on the mackerel, an edible fish that was less affected than many animals.

The scientists say that bit of history gives clues about what food security could be like in the era of climate change. Their findings are published in this month’s issue of the journal Science Advances .