This past week the website “Ice Age Now” published a few notes taken from the BBC documentary “Little Ice Age, Big Chill” some of which are rather interesting and worthy of note. The video is a long one and if you have time it’s worth watching itself. Below are some notes from Ice Age Now that I found interesting (see link below). BTW on the Ice Age Now site the notes can be found under the titles “Horrifying account of the Little Ice Age, Segment 1-7.” BTW the Little Ice Age is closer to home today than you might like to think. It began around AD 1250 and lasted to around AD 1900 during the Medieval Warm Period (AD 950-1250). This event is also known as the Great Solar Minimum (GSM) and some believe we are in the beginning phase of yet another GMS TODAY!!
From Segment #1–
Some people alive during the time froze to death in early September! That is pretty amazing as it shows that the cold at the time was nothing to mess with or to take lightly. In fact, the cold was life threatening!
Temps were as much as 2-3 degrees Celsius below what they are today (35.6–37.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Scientists consider this to have been a “modest change.” New York Harbor froze for 5 weeks and 2 ft of snow fell in New England in the months of June and July.
The Little Ice Age was a contributor to the French Revolution as it caused widespread famine that drove the peasants into Paris. As a result the monarchs were beheaded and the monarchy overthrown. Famine, historically, has played a big role in the overthrow of governments and the end of many civilizations.
Climatologists believe that the Little Ice Age was NOT an isolated event but a RECURRING cycle that will also happen again in the future! Sediment core samples show that average temps during the Little Ice Age were 4 degrees Celsius cooler than today (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Little Ice Age began with “devastating suddenness” during a time when the climate was much like ours TODAY! Notice it says the dawn of the Little Ice Age was SUDDEN not gradual? I’m sure there must have been some “warning signs” in the climate, however, but people ignored them or didn’t pay attention to them. Sound familiar?
Crops failed and people starved!! Famines ensued and people began to die. Diseases spread rapidly in some parts of the world especially in Europe and life began a matter of survival for many.
From Segment #2 —
Glaciers began a rapid advance from Norway to New Zealand and in London the Thames River froze over FREQUENTLY. Crops planted from Russia to Ireland were washed away due to heavy rains and cold and, of course, this meant the risk of starvation greatly increased. The drenching rains persisted for 5 years or more.
The Little Ice Age was not only a long period of intense cold but a period that brought about more intense and frequent storms. Fertile farmlands became water logged mud pits. By the end of the 6th year 1 1/2 million people had died of starvation and famine related diseases in Europe alone! Crime skyrocketed along with civil unrest. Crop failures went on for CENTURIES not years! In AD 1601 in Russia famine killed 1/2 million people alone and it was not uncommon for families to kill their own children so the rest of the family would have enough to eat. Some parents simply abandoned their children in the wilds leaving them to fend for themselves.
I also suspect cannibalism became rather widespread. Cannibalism is far more frequent in human evolution than you might think. Humans do crazy things when they are hungry and you might think you’d never eat another human being but I assure you when faced with doing so or dying of starvation most of us WOULD do so just to survive! Continue Reading