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Little Ice Age Coldest Period In The Last 7000 Years In Greenland

January 21, 2012

By Paul Homewood


A paper published last year “Climate variability in West Greenland during the last 1500 years” by Ribeiro et al attempted to map temperature changes in Disko Bay, in West Greenland, during the last 1500 years by analysing marine sediments. Their conclusions included :-


  • The past 1500 years have been identified as one of the coldest intervals of the last 7000 years in Disko Bay.
  • This period is inserted in the context of the Neoglacial Advance of the Greenland Ice Sheet starting at c. 5000 years BP and culminating in the Little Ice Age (e.g. Kelly et al 1980).
  • A long term cooling trend from the mid-late-holocene is consistent with air temperature reconstructions from Greenland ice core data (Vinther et al 2009,2010). ……..
  • …… And with climate studies in areas influenced by the East Greenland Current (e.g. Jennings et al 2002; Moros et al 2006).
  • This late Holocene cooling trend is also consistent with marine and terrestrial records from several locations in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Levac et al 2001; Moros et al 2004).
  • The dinoflagellate cyst record Disko Bay revealed generally cold sea surface conditions and extensive sea ice throughout the entire studied period.


As well as putting the last 1500 years into long term perspective, the authors have found that their analysis confirms a warmer period between 1050 and 1250 AD and extensive sea ice conditions from 1500 AD. In particular they make this interesting comment :-

Presently, the Baffin Bay southern sea-ice boundary extends from Disko Island to the southwest, towards Canada. This would imply that prior to AD 1250 this boundary was more northerly and gradually moved towards the vicinity of the core site until after AD 1500 (Little Ice Age), when it was positioned south of the core site.

In other words, sea ice was less extensive in the MWP than now.

We therefore appear, as far as Greenland is concerned at any rate, to be going through a slightly warmer interlude within a much longer cooling period. Maybe we should be worrying that the next LIA will be colder still.

  1. LLAP permalink
    January 22, 2012 2:23 pm

    Check out this excerpt from “Doomsday Called Off”, which has to do with temperature reconstructions from Greenland using ice cores:

    According to this, our thermometer records started at the coldest point in the last 10000 years.

  2. LLAP permalink
    January 22, 2012 2:59 pm

    P.S. Great blog … it is quickly becoming one of my favourites.

  3. July 17, 2012 3:48 pm

    Is this related to climate change in some way?

  4. JimJam permalink
    November 3, 2013 3:47 pm

    Here is Lamb

    H.H. Lamb1965
    The early medieval warm epoch and its sequel

    The Arctic pack ice was so much less extensive than in recent times that appearances of drift ice near Iceland and Greenland south of 70[deg] N, were apparently rare in the 10th century and unknown between 1020 and 1194, when a rapid increase of frequency caused a permanent change of shipping routes. Brooks suggested that the Arctic Ocean became ice-free in the summers of this epoch, as in the Climatic Optimum; but it seems more probable that there was some ‘permanent’ ice, limited to areas north of 80[deg] N….”
    Elsevier Publishing Company
    Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 1:1965, p. 15-16


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