Little Ice Ages Bring Famine and Disease

Retired U.S. Navy Physicist warns of what is to come.

Several centuries ago the Earth underwent a very dramatic shift in climate known as the Little Ice Age, says retired U.S. Navy Physicist James Marusek. This coincided with a period of minimal sunspot activity called the Maunder Minimum.

During the Maunder Minimum, average temperatures dropped approximately 1.5º C below current levels, says Marusek. The cold and extreme weather caused a reduction in the growing season, which lead to disastrous harvest failure.

“Hunger became the heart of this crisis,” says Marusek. “Plagues, smallpox, typhus, measles and fever belong to a cluster of deadly diseases that correlate closely with harvest yields.”

“Little Ice Age conditions produced famines, which increased the frequency and intensity of these diseases. Flooding created swamplands that became mosquito breeding grounds and introduced tropical diseases such as malaria throughout Europe.”

Unfortunately, most people do not understand how devastating a small drop in temperature can be.

See entire article:

Thanks to James Marusek for this link

32 thoughts on “Little Ice Ages Bring Famine and Disease”

  1. We are living in a more advanced world now, I think survival would be better if the little ice age happened again today.

    • actually no, with the larger populations and fighting that will start due to lack of food and water… you will have
      food shortages, then wars over food between countries, then economic crashes and infastructure failings… once the light go out… tens of not hundreds of millions will die world wide…

      Be safe! Be prepared! Be ever vigilant!
      network.. you will not be able to do it alone… a isolated family of 4 is a sitting target, ( you have to sleep sometime) and the amount of work needed to survive will quickly wear down a family of 4. You need to team up with a few families to have a group of between 15 to 30 people, to share the work and defense, , and or join your local militia

      Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

      Between natural disasters , rising fuel prices, food prices, inflation, crime, soon to be food shortages ( due to colder than normal weather , and
      transportation problems ) then the fuel and food riots… time is almost up
      to get even your basic supplies ready and a plan of action. Equally as
      important is finding other like minded people you trust as close as possible
      to you. There is strength and safety in numbers. So check the below links to
      find those close to you and network
      Prepare by making essential preparations for yourself and your family to not just survive, but to thrive, if and when things get very difficult:
      Prepare food, water, clothing (especially for growing children/grandchildren) & shoes, fuel, essential drugs & medicines/vitamins, toiletries, medical supplies, guns, ammunition (when you run out, your guns are useless, and if you don’t have enough, you can’t keep your skills honed, so buy plenty),(gold & silver), and other essentials. If you have the resources, acquire enough for friends, relatives, neighbors, and other peers.
      Get your house in order,
      For more preparedness info … PLEASE check the sites i help admin or work with… If you have ANY questions at all please ask..

      St. Cloud Camping And Surviving
      9-12 Preppers Site

      • Good suggestions definitely.

        I have been a “prepper” since I was a girl, but alas at this point in my life … I don’t expect anything to help me for long, even with the know how.

        I’m 65, disabled, severe arthritis, and my family is both scattered to the four winds and most of them not very supportive. Time to get ready to get pushed out onto the ice flow, methinks!

    • Not with the ignoramuses that are now leading us. They will obfuscate and destroy every attempt to help with some “greenery” reason not to do anything, especially at they want a drastic reduction in population of the earth.

    • Joe, your “we are living in a more advanced world now” doesn’t apply to vast numbers of humans. There are billions who have so little modern technology and infrastructure that their existence is very comparable to the life of the peasants of the 17th Century. They would be just as hard hit by famine and disease and the modern world, even with the best intentions might not have enough to share if a string of major crop failures comes along.

      • During WW2 there was a drought which affected countries bordering the Indian Ocean, and because of the war, it was possible to ship wheat which was available in Western Australia to India. I do not know the death toll from hunger, but the number was significant. Logistics, the art of moving food and materials around is very important

    • IF you have the money !

      If another mini ice age occurs this must also lead to the conclusion that major glaciation may be imminent.

      This will lead to a return of the 70’s “peak oil” crisis, only this time the argument will be that “WE” need to preserve our precious hydrocarbon fuels to see “US” through the next 100,000 years.

      The message must be inclusive to ensure the co-operation of the public, but the “WE” and “US” will be the well off protected by the armies of the governments.

      “Joe” public will be left to fend for themselves.

      History should have taught us such lessons – Marie Antoinette’s response to a shortage of bread for the peasants was reportedly “why can’t they eat cake?” – and such callousness caused revolutions.

      It will not be any different if global food supplies dwindle and the possibility of a return to glaciation looms.

      Most of humanity will be left to die just like every time in the past.

      We need to learn from history about the fatal flaw in man’s character.

      • Marie Antoinette never spoke those words but in French said the people should be given the bread from the palace kitchens, ( a type of bread made to sponge recipe).

      • Marie Antoinette’s response to a shortage of bread for the peasants was more on the lines “Let them eat cake”.
        Which I think is much worse, but typical of the modern socialist view of the world, of those from a privileged background who haven’t got a clue about hard manual or even skilled manual work, to make a product or service for many hours a day for a master who begrudges paying for that service. Not a lot of difference with Globalisation today, same slave driving masters but further way.
        “Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was luxury bread enriched with butter and eggs, the quote would reflect the princess’s disregard for the peasants, or at least a complete lack of understanding that the absence of basic food staples was due to poverty rather than a lack of supply.
        While it is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette,[1] there is no record of this phrase ever having been said by her. It appears in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, his autobiography (whose first six books were written in 1765, when Marie Antoinette was nine years of age, and published in 1782). The context of Rousseau’s account was his desire to have some bread to accompany some wine he had stolen; however, in feeling he was too elegantly dressed to go into an ordinary bakery, he thus recollected the words of a “great princess”.[2] As he wrote in Book 6:
        Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.[2]
        Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche.”
        Rousseau does not name the “great princess” and he may have invented the anecdote, as Confessions was, on the whole, not a very reliable autobiography.[3]

    • After the LIA some estimates suggest a one third reduction of European population. We have better habitation, health and food transport to-day so we might only lose a tenth of EU but that is still >50 million or about double Austalia’s total population.
      Many parts of EU have a density of >100/km2 and during winter urban areas need huge inputs of energy and food to exist so an extended hard frost as in some LIA winters would cause huge problems.

  2. Soldiers coming back from war who have been held in prison camps and underfed upon medical evaluations were found to be free of most diseases common to the public. Some did have infections of one type or another. Yet physically, other than being weak they had no diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. They were amazingly healthy.

    During the Mini ice ages the culprit of many diseases was filth as well as plague distributed through fleas and rodents. It was discovered that when temps go – 20 degrees blood in fleas changes and bubonic plague can then thrive. The cold was the stimulating factor that enabled the plague to be very active and apparently in enough quantity that infection would become rampant. The sanitary practices of the age also made it far more likely for transmission of the disease.

    Like war prisoners ice age populations were starved and should have been relatively healthy. Both populations lived in squalor. The major difference was the much colder Ice age weather during the periods of infectious outbreak.

    • Curious where you got your ideas about fleas…

      I’ve studied medical entomology, including doing literature reviews and writing papers on the history of plague (especially sylvatic plague) and never came across anything that would lead me to believe what you said about that theory.

      Plague is endemic in some animal populations in the West including Southern CA, NM and AZ… hardly cold places.

      • In cold places, they wear furs and extra layers of clothing, which is a happy home for fleas. The logic works, IMO.

        • Yes people do wear coats etc., but not fleas.

          It’s not that fleas are not more susceptible to plague because it’s cold… its only when there are populations (be it animal or human) that are in close proximity to some animal with fleas that is also infected with Yersinia pestis (the bacteria that causes the disease) that plague thrives.

          There have been plague outbreaks among people in Vietnam and India… both hot climates, but with areas of dense populations and apparently critters vulnerable to both plague and fleas.

  3. When I said – “This will lead to a return of the 70’s “peak oil” crisis, only this time the argument will be that “WE” need to preserve our precious hydrocarbon fuels to see “US” through the next 100,000 years.” – I should have said this argument may explain CO2 driven climate alarm.

    The Peak Oil scare didn’t change the public’s behaviour as our masters desire so the “Save the Planet” scare commenced.

    It has been much more successful but still has failed – emissions continue to rise.

    significant food shortages will lead to civil unrest in western nations – what is next – martial law ?

    Our political masters will be OK, as they always are, until things become really dire.

    Joe is right – we can adapt – the question is will we ?

  4. Some people think our technology will save us, the exact opposite is true. The agribusiness consist of gigantic farms which will fail and MORE people will be at risk of starvation. Look at how many people are starving today in some countries. There are 7 billion people on the planet, it would not require significant cooling to have a major global impact.

    • Your point is taken, however, crops can be grown indoors now, by that I mean not just glass greenhouses but a warehouse-type of building with specialized lighting for plants. This is a fairly recent breakthrough. If necessary, this could be implemented on a mass scale by governments. The plants would be well protected from the varying weather outside. Also when I mentioned ‘advanced world’, I didn’t just mean agriculture. We now know a heck of a lot more about treating diseases (such as the ones that sprang up during the little ice age). So yes, given just these two things, humanity is much better prepared this time around. I think the real challenge for us would be the big ice age.

  5. Survival will require lots of power plants of all kinds unless only the important people are to get by.

  6. I think your article is deeply flawed for the following reasons

    Since when did the Malaria mosquito live in Europe,
    and in cold conditions?

    Diseases such as Measles,etc can be immunised against.
    Smallpox is extinct (except in Gov. Labs).

    30% of food in the UK is wasted.

    Farmers` could adapt by planting more cold resistant crops.

  7. I have faith in our Government getting us through it. Some how they will determine that it is Man Made and tax the hell out of us. Maybe High CO2 at a point causes Global Cooling?

    Someone bring me another glass of Koolaid.

  8. the fools thinking the GM crops will provide better yields as touted..are so far deluded as to make them objects of pity.
    the ONLY increase was mostly for cotton, and in the first years some minor boost due to the effect on corn grubs
    that effect was shortlived as the bugs developed immunity to the Bt and roundup..and planting GMO soy after corn still using same chem didnt make it better.
    now weve got super weeds and bugs..and the real world yield over standard/hybrid crops is close to Zero.
    at a MUCH higher cost and chemical abuse of soils n plants
    as far as Ive seen every so called GMO wonderplant is supposed to be..tailored for hotter n dryer climes
    well thats going to fall over bloody quick with temp drops or more rain:-)
    the smart folks are going to be looking to get seed for short cycle cold tolerant strains NOW!
    and if it does get as cold as it did in prior ice ages then anyone writing “100 exciting ways with turnips” recipie books may do well 😉
    root crops were staples then and just may be again..on higher ground.
    grains will go back to being luxury items in some places, and carry the risk of aflatoxins if not able to be dried properly before storage
    though with todays drug taking Vitus dance might be seen as “fun” albeit briefly. 😉

  9. During the last 45 years I have been working as an economist in 15 counties in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

    Based on my experience in developing countries and my understanding of historical studies by Hubert Lamb, I fear that at least one billion people would be at risk of famine if the Earth were to experience conditions of the Dalton Minimum 1790-1820.

    Current efforts to demonize fossil fuels and to limit their development and use may yet prove to be more inhumane than the Holocaust.

  10. wow my thanks to James M as well
    excellent article and worth the time it took to read it
    I see similarities with recent events ie the melding on the tropical winds reported as “unprecedented first time evah Panic! panic!!” by some dip asking for funding and calling it a crisis.. AGW of course…we dunnit again ;-/sheesh

    see WUWT topic

  11. Climate in northern Europe reconstructed for the past 2,000 years: Cooling trend calculated precisely for the first time

    Date: July 9, 2012
    Source: Universität Mainz
    Summary: Scientists have published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Researchers used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.
    The reconstruction provides a high-resolution representation of temperature patterns in the Roman and Medieval warm periods, but also shows the cold phases that occurred during the Migration Period and the later Little Ice Age.
    Credit: Illustration/Copyright: Institute of Geography, JGU

    “We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low,” says Esper. “Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today’s climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods.” The new study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

    Was the climate during Roman and Medieval times warmer than today? And why are these earlier warm periods important when assessing the global climate changes we are experiencing today? The discipline of paleoclimatology attempts to answer such questions. Scientists analyze indirect evidence of climate variability, such as ice cores and ocean sediments, and so reconstruct the climate of the past. The annual growth rings in trees are the most important witnesses over the past 1,000 to 2,000 years as they indicate how warm and cool past climate conditions were.

  12. Drs Kaali and Lyman patented an electronic pulsing device for inactivating blood born pathogens. For $100 I have purchased all the parts to assemble a portable adaptation of their idea.
    Don’t expect to to see this in the MSM because Big Pharma are not keen on competition.
    Sota Instruments and a few others market units “for use on animals” or “for research purposes only”.

    ‘net search for Bob Beck Protocols or
    The US Patents site is hard to navigate but try US Pat.No 5,188,738 in 1993 awarded to W.Lyman PhD, S.Kaali MD & P. Schwolsky.

  13. “I’m 65, disabled, severe arthritis, and my family is both scattered to the four winds and most of them not very supportive. Time to get ready to get pushed out onto the ice flow, methinks!”

    Jean, you are not alone-in the metaphorical sense, at least. We wonderful, caring baby boomers who wanted to save the world, were unwittingly used in our naivety to dismantle the traditional protective structure of the family, which had continued from the time of Adam until we came along. Now in our declining years, we are reaping the whirlwind.

    I wish we lived closer together. Lateral relationships with others of our own generation are probably our best bet for survival. Some are in better shape than others, and we all have the benefit of years of experience living on this planet.

    • Good points Deb… and especially where you say the traditional protective structure of teh family has been dismantled. Not sure that didn’t start earlier though… as my recollection (from my own history) is that most if not all of the “hippies” where people whose parents were seriously disfunctional…

      Every single hippy I ever knew (and I lived in a commune in Haight-Ashbury in 1969) had parents who themselves had serious substance abuse problems, be it alcoholism (most comment) or drug abuse (like my mother, addicted to prescription drugs). Very often there was also abuse (physical, sexual or emotional) involved… so it is not surprising that those kids (the boomers) would want to dismantle their connections with their families… who were in fact not in the least protective. But when and how did that start, I want to know?

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