A must-see video.
“When I talk to people about the Grand Solar Minimum (GSM) I usually point them to the BBC documentary called “Little Ice Age Big Chill”,” says reader Norman Grant Smith. “I tell them that the documentary will show them exactly what happened during the last GSM, and this is exactly what will happen in the GSM that is starting right now.”
“This video is an amazing history lesson. And it’s also kind of a horror story as well. People eating their children. Thousands and thousands of “witches” being burned for “causing the clouds rain storms, snow storms, crop failures, plagues etc. That kind of thing. It’s a must-see for all of us.”
This is a l-o-o-o-o-n-g video, so I’ve taken notes (below) in 15-minute segments.
Here are notes from the 30-minute to the 45-minute mark.
What caused the Little Ice Age?
Today, climatologists are still debating what natural processes triggered it. What caused the abrupt climate shift that doomed the Vikings and devastated millions more in the medieval world?
There is no clear consensus, and no lack of theories.
Dr. Richard Seager of Columbia University thinks we were getting less radiation from the sun. But some scientists question that theory because the sun’s output declined by only one-half percent during the Little Ice Age.
Others point to volcanic activity, because deposits of sulfur found in Greenland ice cores indicate that five major volcanic eruptions occurred each century during the Little Ice Age. “Each of the eruptions had the explosive power of Krakatoa in 1883.” Today, such eruptions occur only rarely.
The sulfur rises into the stratosphere where it mixes with water droplets and carbon dioxide to create a cloud that reflects sunlight back into space and cools the earth’s surface.
Other scientists think the cooling has to do with cold water deep in the world’s oceans connected to “the oceanic conveyor belt.” They think the Little Ice Age occurred when natural forces somehow disrupted that flow.
Between 1645 and 1715, temperatures in the northern hemisphere dipped by an additional 3 degrees F. Climatologists trace that additional cooling to the sun, which was weakened during the Maunder Minimum when there were fewer sunspots on the sun. This lead to less radiation reaching the earth.The 70-year surge of cold triggered by the Maunder Minimum triggered the rapid advance of the alpine glaciers, swallowing up the villagers homes and farmlands.
Decade after decade, the cold destroyed many of the cereal crops the people in Europe relied on to survive, and the lethal famine persisted.
But agricultural innovators in England and the Netherlands fought back. With great ingenuity they developed small-holding agriculture, agriculture where they planted such crops as turnips and clover, which they would sell to people who raised cattle. They began to focus on crops that were much more resistant to cold and damp.
The potato also helped, because the durable tuber could survive the colder temperatures and storminess that continued to devastate the peasant’s cereal crops. But Europeans had a hard time accepting the potato. Its leaves were poisonous, it was buried in the ground, and it was covered by dirt. From kings to common men, the potato was known as “the devil’s plant”.
Eating the potato was a sin
Many heeded the clergy’s warning that to eat a potato was a sin.
Millions chose to go hungry rather than alter their diets.
But finally, wars across Europe brought invading armies who burned the peasant’s rye and barley to the ground. This forced them to eat the lowly potato, which had not burned because it was underground. The potato literally saved the peasant’s lives.
However, in France, the population refused to have anything to do with the potato. French peasants clung blindly to tradition. Decade after decade they lived on the brink of starvation.
I stopped taking notes at the 45-minute mark. See more tomorrow.
Thanks to Norman Grant Smith for this video