Volcanoes caused Little Ice Age, claim scientists, according to a report in ScienceDaily 30 January 2012. The Little Ice Age was a period of widespread cooling that began in the 1300s and lasted into the 1800s. It was a time of cool summers and freezing winters, where advancing glaciers destroyed towns, and rivers regularly froze over, which resulted in the famous “ice fairs” on the Thames.

A new study of ice cores and dead plant material from Baffin Island in Canada led by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, indicates the little ice age was precipitated by a series of massive eruptions from four tropical volcanoes over a fifty year period in the 13th century, followed by further eruptions in the mid 15th century. They suggest the cooling was further sustained by masses of sea ice moving down from the Greenland coast and eventually melting there in the North Atlantic. This would have interfered with the distribution of heat via ocean currents.

The researchers ran a computer simulation of various sea ice conditions from about 1150 to 1700 A.D, which showed several large, closely spaced volcanic eruptions could have cooled the Northern Hemisphere enough to trigger expansion of Arctic sea ice. The simulation did not include changes in solar radiation. Bette Otto-Bliesner of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, who was part of the research team, explained: “Our simulations showed that the volcanic eruptions may have had a profound cooling effect. The eruptions could have triggered a chain reaction, affecting sea ice and ocean currents in a way that lowered temperatures for centuries”.


Editorial Comment: Although this study did not include changes in the solar radiation, we know from other studies that the sun’s radiance does change, and Galileo was the first to record massive and prolonged decrease in sunspot activity during the Little Ice Age. Therefore, we can conclude from this new study, along with others, that in the absence of industry and motor vehicles between 1300 and 1700, a significant and prolonged climate change was entirely caused by natural phenomena – volcanoes, ocean currents and the sun.

Written records from this time tell us life during this cold period was a time of famine and misery due to crop failures in the cool summers, and much hardship during the freezing winters. Ice fairs are only fun if you can afford warm clothes, and have good food and a warm home to go to afterwards. There is a quite reasonable historical theory that the age of exploration (Columbus et al) began during this time because people wanted to escape freezing Europe.

Prior to the Little Ice Age there was a period known as the Medieval Warm Period, which also was certainly not caused by industrialisation. This new study confirms that the cycles of climate that are well documented over the last few thousand years are due to changes in phenomena that are beyond human control. Keep this in mind when the promoters of man-made global warming want to cool the climate downwards to pre-industrial levels. Rather we should be putting our efforts into things we can control, studying and learning and using our God given brains to live with things we can’t control, and putting our trust in the God who is the one who can control such things as volcanoes, the sun and ocean currents. (Ref. climate, weather, natural cycles)

Evidence News 16 February 2012