Skip to content

Geoffrey Parker’s Account Of The Little Ice Age

February 10, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


Global Crisis



I’m reading Geoffrey Parker’s excellent history of the 17thC, Global Crisis.

Parker is a renowned historian, and most of the book relates to the political and societal tumult that took place against the background of a rapidly cooling climate. His first chapter, however, lays down this climatic background and the extreme weather brought with it.







What is particularly notable is the occurrence of both extreme droughts and rainfall, something we are assured by today’s climate scientists are due to global warming.

The other lesson to learn is just how widespread geographically were the climatic effects of the Little Ice Age. Plainly the idea that this was just some sort of European weather anomaly is nonsense. 



I’ll carry on with the last part of this section, which runs up to 1700 AD, as this is already quite a long read. 

But, for anyone interested in history, I would thoroughly recommend this highly enjoyable read.  

  1. David Richardson permalink
    February 10, 2016 8:21 pm

    Just gone on the “to read” list – Thank you Paul.

    A little bit of extra warmth – if that is what we get – will do little or no harm at all for decades.

    A little bit of cold – if it is that instead – will bring us a lot of hardship even in this modern era, especially when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

    We are at the cold end of an interglacial period known as the Holocene. Its warmest time was 8,000 years ago and it has been trending cooler ever since. As the temperature has gone up and down, every peak has been lower than the last. When we entered the Holocene circa 11,000 years ago there were reckoned to be less than 1 million souls on the planet. The vast bulk of our development has taken place in the Holocene. During the last glacial period the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is thought to have fallen to around 180ppm – NOTHING grows below 150ppm.

    I have no idea when the ice will return, but return it will, and that will be the biggest challenge the human race will ever have faced.

    Sorry was that a bit alarmist??

    • David Richardson permalink
      February 10, 2016 8:50 pm

      Ordered – I had a Waterstones gift card waiting for a good cause – thanks again Paul.

  2. February 10, 2016 8:54 pm

    We might need to check in with “Our Mr. Sun” to see what he has in store with his spots.

  3. dearieme permalink
    February 10, 2016 10:07 pm

    The late C17 was known in Scotland as “King William’s ill years”.

  4. Green Sand permalink
    February 10, 2016 11:01 pm

    Meanwhile the DT has:-

    ‘UK weather: Britain braced for -10C winter blast’

    “Storm-hit Britain could be hit with an arctic blast bringing more than three inches of snow towards the end of the week.

    A twist in the jet stream means bitter winds will bring freezing fog and widespread frosts.”

    Quotes the ‘red top’ go to usual’s and who penned this little alarmist piece?

    Lexi Finnigan

    ‘Lexi Finnigan is a reporter for The Telegraph covering news. She previously worked at The Sun’

    I see (not read) the DT every day, only because I don’t pay for it.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      February 11, 2016 1:34 am

      DT — quite odd. I always thought DT stood for Delirium Tremens.
      You do have to pay for this.

    • David Richardson permalink
      February 11, 2016 8:52 am

      Oh! No not a twist in the jet stream.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 11, 2016 1:40 am

    3 of 41 reviews of this book on Amazon (7%) are 2 stars, but it does have 4.4 of 5 overall.
    Some of the reviews make interesting reading.

  6. February 11, 2016 9:17 am

    It’s quite amazing how the events described therein match current events weather wise but the advance in technology brought about by cheap reliable energy have reduced the devastating effects upon man.
    How anyone could claim that weather has worsened and is more of a risk to man now than in that age is beyond belief.
    When scientific advisers to policy makers create the myth that risk of danger from weather is increasing with climate change, it will become a self fulfilling prophesy if technology is stifled.
    Mankind has survived past climate change and will survive future climate change. The indication of mans advancement through time can be measured by how we reduce the effect of adversity.
    Suggesting that warm periods in the Earth cycle are detrimental to our existence and even stating that our puny existence within the lifetime of this planet has had a noticeable effect upon these great cycles just highlights how arrogant we have become with our minute understanding of the system.

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.
    Fired at first sight with what the muse imparts,
    In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts
    While from the bounded level of our mind
    Short views we take nor see the lengths behind
    But more advanced behold with strange surprise,
    New distant scenes of endless science rise!”
    Alexander Pope, 1711.

  7. February 11, 2016 10:26 am

    The book is well written, and breath-taking in its scpe. For anyone who hasn’t read it, you’re in for a treat.

  8. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 12, 2016 3:00 am

    Re the frozen Bosphorus this was reported (as complete) three times in 673, 801, 802 AD (including another reference to 673AD on being able to walk to Asia on the ice, and of animals taken on the ice dying from exposure).
    floating ice masses were present in Bosphorus strait in 739, 753, 755, 762, 928, 934, 1011, 1232, 1620, 1669, 1755, 1823, 1849, 1862, 1893, 1929, 1954.

    Read more:

  9. emsnews permalink
    February 12, 2016 1:22 pm

    The era of 700-900 AD was a Little Ice Age time, too. As things cooled down after the Roman Empire Warm Era, we had the ‘Dark Ages’ which also includes the image of being colder than ‘normal’.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: