Lecture Feb 10 – movie The Little Ice Age
The little ice age
Could it occur again?
Summer of 1683- a monster approaches
A band of priests set out to fight it –a huge glacier/river of ice quickly engulfing the villages and farmlands
The glaciers are possessed by the devil, so they sprinkle it with holy water
Less pronounced than the last ice age, when 30% of earth was covered in ice
The little ice age was a 2-3 degree decrease in temp
A period of very volatile climate shifts, unpredictable
It reshaped the world
New york harbour froze and eskimos could reach Ireland
Huge French famines leading to the revolution
The exact cause is unknown, but it gives us perspective on what could occur
Shows us that our climate CAN be changed
Sediment cores from the sea floor are drilled to find fossilized remains
Based on the favorable habitat of a given species, their presence determines the temp in that time period
Descended in 1300 during the era of feudalism – rise of urban centers and the catholic church
It was the little climate optimum/the medieval warming period
Agriculture prospered and reduced stagnant water reduces malaria
Architecture prospered due to over all human prosper
Even in the best of times medieval peasants lived on the edge of doom
The English ‘frost fares’
In the 14th century a catastrophic occurrence- 1315 a dramatic change in weather. It rained continuously, washing away many crops. For 5 years
Throughout Europe. The great famine. Massive crime and grave robbing.
Cereals were well grown during the medieval warm period but their height made them vulnerable during the little ice age – century’s of crop failure.
People more often died of famine related diseases – huge outbreaks of bubonic plague. (rats, infected masses)
1563 – burning of witched
witches were blamed by the church for the climate change
the most vulnerable people were the swaggin vikings
the vanguard, how had terrorized Europe, traveled to the new world 500 yrs before Columbus. They settled in Greenland during the warm period.
They were hit so hard by the ice age that their crops and livestock dies. They had to rely on sea food.
They were cut off from the home country due to the icy water
The vikings chose to ignore inuit survival tactics
The little ice age had a very small reduction in solar radiation (half a percent)
Ice cores of the poles show that 3 explosive volcanic eruptions occurred
Oceanic heat currents were disrupted by a flood of fresh water from the melt of arctic ice during the warming period.
Agriculture was developed to resist the cold was developed- less cereals and more integrated farming including livestock (fertilizing manure) and resistant squashes
Europeans would not eat potatoes- b/c of the poisonous leaves –the church marked them as being a sin to eat
During the 30yrs war standing crops were burned.
Underground potatoes were protected and saved thousands.
However the French refused the potato, despite the king’s encouragement- living on the constant brink of famine.
The irish grew almost exclusively the ‘lumper’ potato, a robust but disease susceptible crop. During the irish potato famine their crops were iinfected, rendering them inedible and starving millions.
The stradivarius was created during the little ice age. They have almost perfect tone- why?
During cool years tree rings are much denser rings due to slower growth.
The cells in these rings act as sound chambers. The trees from the Italian alps grew in poor soil –enhancing the denseness of the wood.
The little ice age killed most wine grape crops –the southern Europe continues to produce wine, the northern produce hard liquor and beer.
The alcoholic preference of the northern europeans was imported to the new world with them.
In 2001 a Lithuanian mass grave is unearthed by a construction crew. They are napoleon soldiers
Thousands of them died/froze to death or died of starvation.
The Delaware river was choked with ice –troops were threatened by them as boats were covered in ice. It took nine hours for the Americans to cross it.
1815 – the eruption of the Krakatau caused the ‘year without a summer’
multicoloured snow globally + dusty fog and heavy rain.
During this year Frankenstein was written during a cold, enclosed winter.
Riots and robbing for food. Mass exodus to north America.
New England too had to summer. Snow in june, persisting throughout the summer. Cattle froze to death and crops were destroyed.
The little ice age ended due to another oscillation in the oceans conveyer belt.
Will an ice age occur again?
Currently fresh water melting from northern ice, due to global warming, threatens the delicate balance of our planet’s climate.