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New Study Finds Little Ice Age Was Global

November 22, 2014
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By Paul Homewood 

 

A new study has found that the Little Ice Age was global, rather than just affecting parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

 

UK researchers show Little Ice Age was global, with implications for current Global Warming

18 November 2014 Gloucestershire, University of

 

A team of UK researchers has shed new light on the climate of the Little Ice Age, and rekindled debate over the role of the sun in climate change. The new study, which involved detailed scientific examination of a peat bog in southern South America, indicates that the most extreme climate episodes of the Little Ice Age were felt not just in Europe and North America, which is well known, but apparently globally. The research has implications for current concerns over ‘Global Warming’.
Climate sceptics and believers of Global Warming have long argued about whether the Little Ice Age (from c. early 15th to 19th Centuries) was global, its causes, and how much influence the sun has had on global climate, both during the Little Ice Age and in recent decades. This new study helps clarify those debates.
The team of researchers, from the Universities of Gloucestershire, Aberdeen and Plymouth, conducted studies on past climate through detailed laboratory examination of peat from a bog near Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. They used exactly the same laboratory methods as have been developed for peat bogs in Europe. Two principal techniques were used to reconstruct past climates over the past 3000 years: at close intervals throughout a vertical column of peat, the researchers investigated the degree of peat decomposition, which is directly related to climate, and also examined the peat matrix to reveal the changing amounts of different plants that previously grew on the bog.
The data show that the most extreme cold phases of the Little Ice Age—in the mid-15th and then again in the early 18th centuries—were synchronous in Europe and South America. There is one stark difference: while in continental north-west Europe, bogs became wetter, in Tierra del Fuego, the bog became drier—in both cases probably a result of a dramatic equator-ward shift of moisture-bearing winds.
These extreme times coincide with periods when it is known that the sun was unusually quiet. In the late 17th to mid-18th centuries it had very few sunspots—fewer even than during the run of recent cold winters in Europe, which other UK scientists have linked to a relatively quiet sun.
Professor Frank Chambers, Head of the University of Gloucestershire’s Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research, who led the writing of the Fast-Track Research Report, said:
“Both sceptics and adherents of Global Warming might draw succour from this work. Our study is significant because, while there are various different estimates for the start and end of the Little Ice Age in different regions of the world, our data show that the most extreme phases occurred at the same time in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These extreme episodes were abrupt global events. They were probably related to sudden, equator-ward shifts of the Westerlies in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Atlantic depression tracks in the Northern Hemisphere. The same shifts seem to have happened abruptly before, such as c. 2800 years ago, when the same synchronous but opposite response is shown in bogs in Northwest Europe compared with southern South America.
“It seems that the sun’s quiescence was responsible for the most extreme phases of the Little Ice Age, implying that solar variability sometimes plays a significant role in climate change. A change in solar activity may also, for example, have contributed to the post Little Ice Age rise in global temperatures in the first half of the 20th Century. However, solar variability alone cannot explain the post-1970 global temperature trends, especially the global temperature rise in the last three decades of the 20th Century, which has been attributed by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Professor Chambers concluded: “I must stress that our research findings are only interpretable for the period from 3000 years ago to the end of the Little Ice Age. That is the period upon which our research is focused. However, in light of our substantiation of the effects of ‘grand solar minima’ upon past global climates, it could be speculated that the current pausing of ‘Global Warming’, which is frequently referenced by those sceptical of climate projections by the IPCC, might relate at least in part to a countervailing effect of reduced solar activity, as shown in the recent sunspot cycle.”

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=147372&CultureCode=en

 

 This study backs up plenty of other evidence from glaciers in South America, which came to similar conclusions.

If even only part of 20thC warming is due to a natural rebound from the Little Ice Age, this creates huge problems for catastrophic warming theorists. Although Prof Chambers believes solar variability on its own cannot explain post 1970 warming, the weak sun cannot fully explain the Little Ice Age, as cooling began as early as the 13thC, long before the Dalton and Maunder minimums. The bottom line is that there is still a huge gap in scientists’ understanding of why the earth goes through these warm and cold phases.

15 Comments
  1. November 22, 2014 8:22 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:

    Our study is significant because, while there are various different estimates for the start and end of the Little Ice Age in different regions of the world, our data show that the most extreme phases occurred at the same time in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These extreme episodes were abrupt global events. 

    • Kelvin Vaughan permalink
      November 23, 2014 9:29 am

      I would expect it to have different start times as the oceans have stored up the heat prior to the start. The interior of large land masses would cool faster than small ones that were closes to the ocean. The southern hemisphere has more ocean so would take longer to cool.

  2. November 22, 2014 8:38 pm

    Well, I don’t really want to say it, but I told you so.
    I figured this all out for myself some time ago. History will prove me right…
    My graphs for the rate of warming and cooling are all looking natural, especially the one that is supposed to look unnatural if there really were any man made global warming: the development of minimum temperatures.
    last graph, on the bottom of the tables:

    Click to access henryspooltableNEWc.pdf

    hence, we entered a global cooling period

    Don’t trust just anybody’s results but your own because everyone is fudging with the results. Even these researchers say:

    “However, solar variability alone cannot explain the post-1970 global temperature trends, especially the global temperature rise in the last three decades of the 20th Century, which has been attributed by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    seemingly toe-ing a specific line.

    But this statement cannot be confirmed by the subsequent results of my own investigations, indicating solar variability and planetary positions as the cause of climate change.

  3. Matt permalink
    November 22, 2014 9:38 pm

    It does seem that he has found evidence that contradicts the IPCC but does not want to jepodise his grant, so contrives a viewpoint which allows agreement with the IPCC.

  4. November 22, 2014 10:54 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Good article. In South America this was understood when I was a freshman, 20 years later everything changed for the worst. Global warming played its divisive role in it.
    You said: “there is still a huge gap in scientists’ understanding of why the earth goes through these warm and cold phases.” This is true, and we have to advance the knowledge or be swamped into a new dark age, that might also be cold, again.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 23, 2014 1:37 am

    It is a new study – and we thank them for it – but it is not a news.
    Well, okay, it’s old news.

    Anyone need more information.
    http://co2science.org/subject/l/summaries/liaglobal.php

    On another page they list more recent papers not used in the summary.
    http://co2science.org/subject/g/globaliceage.php

  6. Tony Price permalink
    November 23, 2014 10:25 am

    It doesn’t surprise me at all. There’s plenty of evidence for late 20th.C acceleration in sea-level rise, but what all (almost all) of the studies ignore is that the increased rates represent a “catch-up” after lower rates of rise (some negative) post middle-century. If earlier trends (say to 1950-1970) are extended to present, there are few sites where present levels have risen above the older trend lines. That’s true in Europe, US (both coasts, including the “North-east hotspot”), Australia, and most Pacific sites.

    A good example in the UK is Newlyn, where the trend to 1970 is 2.05 mm/year, and current levels are slightly below that extended trend line.

    Studies are usually designed to show the desired result, especially via the methodology used. The trick is to spot what the study in question is ignoring, or in some cases hiding.

  7. November 23, 2014 12:18 pm

    Another evidence-based study showing the little ice-age was world-wide. And the study is recent. And it is in addition to similar studies (ref John F. Hultquist, above).

    Question: where are the evidence-based studies confirming Mann’s assertion that the contemporary climate optimum is unprecedented and that the Little Ice Age didn’t happen?

  8. November 24, 2014 1:19 pm

    Interesting study, indeed. It is important to study what happened in the past, in order to prevent the present mistakes and to make a safer future for us on this planet. I’ve read another interesting article about climate change on http://1ocean-1climate.com/climate-changes-today.php; you will find there some graphs about the CO2 emissions and some explanations about the causes of climate change and the influence of the oceans in this process.

  9. rum permalink
    November 25, 2014 7:31 pm

    imagine that! the sun has something to do with warming.

    • November 25, 2014 9:05 pm

      Is not just the sun…. It’s the ocean, the CO2 emissions, our activity on Earth, everything is connected….

  10. Don B permalink
    November 25, 2014 8:03 pm

    Historian Geoffrey Parker was quite aware that the LIA was global. He titled his book, “Global Crisis; War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeeth Century.”

    “Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides – the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were not only unprecedented, they were agonisingly widespread. A global crisis extended from England to Japan, and from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa. North and South America, too, suffered turbulence.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Global-Crisis-Climate-Catastrophe-Seventeenth/dp/0300153236

    • November 25, 2014 9:07 pm

      Interesting, thanks for that. I shall try to find it or to download it. It seems that history is repeating over and over again.

  11. November 27, 2014 3:20 pm

    The hubris on mankind knows no bounds.

    This earth and everything in was created. And we didn’t create it. That means climate and weather are not in our control, either.

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