Explosive volcanism triggered the Little Ice Age


Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA), researchers insist. Low sunspot activity is not the culprit.

Precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland show that “Little Ice Age summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD,” researchers found.

These intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half-centuries of the past millennium, the study shows. “Explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times.”

“Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg.”

Once the ice age was triggered, cold summers were maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols were removed. the authors assert. “Large changes in solar irradiance are not required.

Studies of sea ice confirmed their findings

Repeated explosive volcanism might have led to a persistent growth of sea ice during the LIA, the study found.

Sea ice does not form around Iceland; it only appears when there is a large export of sea ice from the Arctic Ocean.

Sea ice was rarely present on the North Iceland shelf from 800 AD until the late 13th Century, when a rapid increase in Arctic Ocean sea ice export shows up in the record. That was followed by another increase ∼1450 AD, after which sea ice was continuously present until the 20th Century.

The increase in sea ice north of Iceland at the start of the LIA, and its persistence throughout the LIA, supports their belief that explosive volcanism resulted in a self-sustaining sea-ice growth beginning 1275–1300 AD.

“Precisely dated records demonstrate that the expansion of ice caps after Medieval times coincided with episodes of repeated explosive volcanism centuries before the widely cited Maunder sunspot minimum (1645–1715 AD),” the researchers conclude.

“An explanation of the LIA does not require a solar trigger.”

See entire paper, entitled “Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks,” published on 31 January 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL050168/full

Thanks to iceager for this link.

“Underwater volcanoes were apparently not examined in these studies,” says Iceager.


 

39 thoughts on “Explosive volcanism triggered the Little Ice Age”

  1. “An explanation of the LIA does not require a solar trigger”
    Chicken and egg…
    Does the solar cycle trigger the volcanic up trend in volcanic activity.
    “Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA), researchers insist. Low sunspot activity is not the culprit.”
    Based on a prejudiced view or actual research? And if based on research was it complete and viewed in an unbiased as science would require.

    1. Dang proofreading fail…
      ~~~~~~~~
      “An explanation of the LIA does not require a solar trigger”
      Chicken and egg…
      Does the solar cycle trigger the volcanic up trend in activity.
      “Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA), researchers insist. Low sunspot activity is not the culprit.”
      Based on a prejudiced view or actual research? And if based on research was it complete and viewed in an unbiased way as science would require.

  2. I did not read the paper. I have done enough research to know already that the conclusions of this paper cannot be what I have found to be true in the past, namely that Little Ice Ages ARE related to solar minimums. They are cyclical just as are Ice Ages.

    I don’t know how these researchers came to their conclusions but I will not be wasting my time trying to give credence to their findings when so many other findings say different.

    I realize that this is a poor attitude and that all research should be reviewed, fine someone else review it.

    Little Ice Ages typically last 30 to 50 years, they happen on a regular cycle regardless of what volcanoes do. I suspect that it is the changing ice patterns that actually affect volcanoes not volcanoes affecting ice. When ice moves it can substantially shift weight patterns and therefore cause crust movement which can trigger eruptions. On the other hand when a large volcano erupts it can throw particulate into the atmosphere, sure and that can reduce temperatures for a few months to a few years, but 50 years, I don’t think so. I know, the researchers believe that the effect of the extra ice caused by particulate reflects heat back to space for decades but other researchers say that the particulate falls out on to ice giving it color and decreases reflectivity and pretty much cancels out any effects caused by extra ice from volcanism.

  3. Interesting idea, but IMHO, likely wrong.

    It is a correlation study that claims to find causality, a basic fault.

    Specifically, it fails to appreciate the possibility that solar changes and Earth volcanism changes (cycles) might well be both driven by another cause. Orbital perturbations driven by the major planets. Since both seem to happen together, and stop together, and match orbital configuration.

    Also, they ignore that weird bit where nuclear decay rates were shown to change with solar changes. So the sun could well be causing the added decay heat driving more volcanoes. As just one example posting from a quick search:

    https://cuthelain.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/the-sun-is-changing-the-rate-of-radioactive-decay/

    Ignoring multifactor causality, common factor causality, and confounding correlation with causality are rampant faults in “Climate Science”…

  4. Interesting, but correlation does not imply causation. It would be beneficial to the hypothesis to see if this works for other historical colder periods.

  5. Interesting. But, isn’t it also true that with a quiet sun we get increased galactic cosmic rays which spurn increased volcanic and earthquake activity ?

  6. Something doesn’t jibe here with the theory that “Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA)”. It seems to me that vulcanism is caused by something else, and it is an ‘effect’ of other causes, such as gravitational pulling and tugging by one or more larger masses, possibly in perfect alignment. In a case such as this, sunspot activity would be further evidence of this effect. In other words, the volcanic activity is an ‘effect’ and not a ’cause’. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

    1. If Yellowstone goes, but not yet (not in our life time), say good by to most of the population of the North American continent and USA is gone . Also a lot of crops in other countries will fail. It won’t matter if there is an ice age or not. A lot of people will die.

    2. yeah ive been watching
      and theyre getting from 2.8 and a few upwards near the 4 mark over the last few weeks
      and theyre in the shallow 10k and UPwards levels
      around where that magma chamber is i gather.

  7. Low sunspot count not required to explain onset of Little Ice Age ? Are you so sure ? After all it is the low sunspot count as a result of the sun cooling down that then leads to the collapse of the Heliospheric Bubble which then allows COSMIC RADIATION to penetrate the solar system which is what leads by COSMIC RAY INDUCTION to cause more volcano’s and bigger volcano’s. Then the increased number of volcano eruptions lead to the Little Ice Age. Mammoth Lakes Caldera in California looks like it is going to erupt which is sure to cause a return of Ice Age conditions.

  8. From what I see on this page it sounds like the researchers are not aware of what causes the increased volcanic activity and earthquakes in the first place. Namely a very weak solar cycle is directly linked to a substantial increase in volcanic activity. The “experts” are still having a hard time connecting the dots.
    Can somebody send them a copy of Not by Fire but by Ice please. That should be Climate 101 reading material.

  9. “Precisely dated records demonstrate that the expansion of ice caps after Medieval times coincided with episodes of repeated explosive volcanism centuries before the widely cited Maunder sunspot minimum (1645–1715 AD),” the researchers conclude.

    “Precisely dated records” ? I can never understand anyone who makes such statements – just who was making “Precisely dated records” in the 13th century ?

    From what we know of history people at those times were occupied with subsistence survival and were ill educated.

    And if there were reliable records why would they be anymore believable than today’s records where every new temperature record released on the community is significantly different to previous versions ? We know these records of less than 100 years are basically wrong due to politics.

    1. as precise as they had..old church and other records- from the few who had the ability to write diaries and who did take notice
      traders/shipping etc all did keep as good a record as we will ever get.
      they told the truth from visual sightings, and from their thermometers when available even if rare.
      they saw no need to “fudge” their reports at least;-)

  10. So, then, if the mini ice ages correspond to less solar output, is there a tie-in to that precipitating or enhancing the volcanic activity? Also, the you tube story about the electric universe and sinkholes bears a look into. It states that as less solar out put equals a slowing Earth, thus being rounder at the equator; which cause a “buckling” effect at the crust, triggering volcanic activity; re: sinkholes, volcanoes, and Yellowstone now! “May You Live in Interesting Times!”

  11. When your house gets cold, its never the furnace, it’s always something else. Sounds like an attempt to uncouple solar activity from climate so we can get back on track with CO2 is the magic gas that causes warming. Can’t claim it was an active Sun that caused the warming, and now we can’t claim it was an inactive Sun that caused the cooling. “That lucky old Sun’s got nothing to do but roll around heaven all day.” It’s only good, I guess for lighting the day.

  12. In 2008 or 2009 the National Science Foundation website had an article about the cooling of the sun caused the earth crust to contract and magma to crystallize and sink. This in turn forces the thinner magma out and volcanoes erupt. The article was on the NSF frontpage for several months.

  13. If volcanic activity caused the Little Ice Age, then we are still in recovery mode; Earth’s Temperature was higher before the Little Ice Age. You can’t have it both ways. Well maybe Liberals can.

  14. “Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg.”

    This can be summarily disputed in two short answers:
    1. Current climate science demonstrates that large stratospheric injections of sulfates via volcanism shows any cooling effect to be washed out of the atmosphere ≤ 2.5 years after eruption (what atmospheric physics would have changed between 1275 and 2017 to make that “fact” worth disregarding?)
    2. Any series of large atmospheric volcanism injections would need to be demonstrated by global tephra and ash and likely recorded in any ice core samples. To my knowledge, none exist.

    This is just another attempt at shady scientists attempting to undermine legitimate sources which explain prolonged periods of climate change. After all, remove the specter of SSN’s and solar insolation, and all that’s left to explain temperature changes is a 1:1 linear trendline with CO2 levels.

    1. It seems that you are promoting the fraudulent pseudo-science of AGW. It is not science because the thermodynamic laws are disregarded (presumably due to ignorance of physics by climate “scientists”). “Legitimate sources”? Like the ICPP or NASA? Ha-ha

  15. Seems to me that this is an attempt to avoid mentioning the S word as a cause of climate change. Admitting that is does have an effect brings the warmist house of cards tumbling down.

  16. But Which comes first? .. Increases in Volcanic Activity self-evidently Decreases Solar Radiation from reaching Earth..

  17. “Precisely dated records demonstrate that the expansion of ice caps after Medieval times coincided with episodes of repeated explosive volcanism centuries before the widely cited Maunder sunspot minimum (1645–1715 AD),” the researchers conclude.”

    How can something “coincide with” something “centuries before”?

    Probably we could cite several things that happened centuries before the Maunder Minimum.

    Anyway, doesn’t the weakening of the “solar wind” of a cooling sun CAUSE an increase in volcanism?

    1. No, but low solar activity due to a lack of sunspots does.

      The solar wind creates earthquakes, which might also result in a volcanic eruption if there is one on a fault line. The solar wind strength is related to solar activity but if you look at spaceweather you will see the part coronal holes play in sending strong solar wind streams our way.

  18. Even if there is a significant correlation between things… that doesn’t necessarily mean Thing A caused Thing B (or visa versa…)

    Proving cause is a lot more complicated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford_Hill_criteria

    For example… Thing A has to come before Thing B for example, if you say Thing A causes Thing B. You also need to have a plausible explanation for the mechanism for causality as well.

    A good example of bad thinking (a presentation I once attended) . The presenter claimed that earthquakes cause a particular soil borne disease in San Diego, based on what was found in a study of an outbreak of that same disease following the Northridge quake. In the case of the Northridge quake, the theory was plausible. But then they showed a map of known active faults in the area… with the location of new cases of the disease superimposed and because there was correlation claimed that earthquakes caused the disease. The problem?

    The researcher didn’t understand what “known active faults” mean. In CA, it’s defined as faults with evidence of earthquakes occurring any time since the Holocene. At the time of the outbreak they were studying… there had been no earthquakes on known active faults in San Diego in something like 200 years (tho I believe there have been some small ones since). So pure BS in their theory, they did not do their homework… but there was statistically significant correlation (in mapping something called spatial autocorrelation… which is quite common). So, there was correlation… but no plausible explanation.

    1. Yes, but IS there a correlation between solar cycles, volcanic activity and climate effects — has this been investigated?

      All else you have said appears to say this has NOT been thoroughly investigated. From other site I have read a strong case is made to suggest there may be a link, however as long as the scientific world is unwilling to dispassionately investigate it then the correlation will remain a point of speculation or even an argument of causation.
      Also note I am not writing about studies of the last 30 years, or even back to the LIA, as here. I mean the last 1,000 to 10, 000 years to make any sense of whether solar and volcanic/tectonic shifts are related to ice ages or any other climatic variation.

  19. Probleem of AGW solved then? Just calculate what is needed for is to counter the ‘warming caused by CO2’ and blow Some sulphur in the atmosfere

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