Massive volcanic eruptions triggered Little Ice Age

This is why I fear all the volcanic eruptions we’re seeing today.

“The Little Ice Age began in the 1300s due to the cooling effect of massive volcanic eruptions,” says this article on BBC news (30 Jan 2012).

A study led by Dr Gifford Miller at the University of Colorado in Boulder found four explosive volcanic eruptions between about 1250 and 1300 that would have blasted huge clouds of sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere, cooled the Earth for centuries, and triggered glacial expansion.

Although the temperature declined less than 1C globally, parts of Europe cooled more than that, particularly in the winter, which explains the thick layer of ice that formed on the River Thames during so many winters at the time.

Studying ancient plants and glacial sediments at several sites in Canada and  Iceland, the scientists determined that the cooling began fairly abruptly between 1250 and 1300, then fell another notch between 1430 and 1455.

Analysis of the later phase of the Little Ice Age also suggests that changes in the Sun’s output, particularly in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, would also have contributed cooling.

Thanks to Winona Campbell for this link


16 thoughts on “Massive volcanic eruptions triggered Little Ice Age”

  1. Notice that there is a link between the amount of and strength of volcanic activity, together with lack of sunspot activity. This link between volcano’s and lack of sunspots is proving to me, as per my theory, that volcanic activity is being driven by Cosmic Ray Induction. I also hold to the hollow earth theory too. Lack of sunspots allows greater levels of Cosmic Rays to penetrate the solar system. Presently cosmic rays are some four to five times stronger than they were before the lack of sunspots started. Cosmic Ray Induction is similar to a battery charging up. At a certain point the resistance of the rocks will be breached and thus the electric forces transmit along the line of conductivity forming a volcanic explosion as the electric force flys away from the earth into the sky and back into space. The weather and ocean currents are also driven by the same Cosmic Ray Inductions too.

  2. Ah yes, the gigantic egotism of science. We have now declared we absolutely know what caused something that happened 600 years ago, when little data was taken for these purposes. We have decided we can study sediment and absolutely declare, just as we do from ice cores, precisely what happened in the past. No more theory, just absolute statement of fact. This “truth” is conjecture at best, but don’t expect the giant ego of science to ever say anything but absolutes. I won’t say they are absolutely wrong, nor absolutely right, which is what this implies, but it probably falls absolutely somewhere in between.

  3. This is the BBC warmist religion all over again. “The Little Ice Age (LIA) saw an increase in cold winters in parts of Europe, but a small global change.” But research in other parts of the world suggests that it was much colder there, too. The cold killed many aboriginals in Australia, but that does not fit in with the BBC doctrine. In fact, the whole world was a lot cooler, and not only in the winters. What reason could there be for the sun, blocked by volcanic ashes and sulfur in the sky, to not warm for decades of years mainly parts of Europe and only in the winter time? And the cause of the LIA was according to the BBC volcanic eruptions, by chance or coincidence. But scientists like Piers Corbyn think that lower solar activity triggers earthquakes and volcanic activity, so there it is no coincidence at all that volcanoes erupt more often during a solar minimum. Global cooling is not so much caused, but enhanced by increased volcanic activity, which is a positive feedback mechanism increasing the cooling of the earth.

  4. Considering the British media’s tendency to support the AGW hypothesis and blame CO2 it is surprising that they would have allowed such a report on the BBC.

  5. While it’s a fact that volcanic eruptions can cause global climate effects (as demonstrated by Mt Pinatubo) I some how doubt these effects will linger for a century…more like 5 years to a decade as the particulate settles out of the atmosphere. The correlations between solar activity and climate temperatures are too much in sync to ignore.
    Now, if you had a solar minimum AND a series of volcanic events, you can get a lengthy general cooling with periodic episodes of extreme cold…and that would make things even worse.

  6. This is the BBC warmist propaganda all over again. “The Little Ice Age saw an increase in cold winters in parts of Europe, but a small global change”. Volcanic ashes and sulphuric substances in the sky blocked the sun from warming the earth for many decades. What reason could there be that the cooling was restricted to parts of Europa and only in the winter time? Didn’t the year 1816 show us that such an event (Tambora eruption) caused the year without summer? Research had learned us that drastic cooling in the LIA also took place in other parts of the globe, and mass graves of Australian aboriginals are associated with the LIA cooling. Moreover the LIA was not so much caused by volcanic activity. When solar activity is low, that is what triggers volcanic activity, a positive feedback that further enhances the cooling of the earth.

  7. I really don’t think these people know what they’re talking about – how do they have any idea of how much ash caused what amount of cooling ?

    It is all just informed supposition – the thoughts on volcanoes and ash clouds seem to be correct but all the supposition about CO2 doesn’t seem to be going too well at present.

    Fancy anyone calling themselves a scientist claiming that CO2 – a harmless gas with fairly unimpressive physical and chemical properties and a tiny 0.04% concentration in the atmosphere – drives the climate and water – with its truly amazing properties and phase change latent heat properties – is the tail wagged by the CO2 dog.

    Mind boggling stupidity I call it – but of course they couldn’t sell a horror story based on anything other than CO2 could they ?

  8. The solar cycles cannot be discounted, and I am afraid that is exactly the intent of Dr Miller, et al.

    I smell a rat.

  9. Reverse.. cart before the horse..Solar changes cause LIA and volcanic eruptions at same time.

  10. Hi Robert, the talk about gobal cooling today or in the near future pales into insignificance when seen in the light of MT Toba which became Lake Toba about 70000 years ago. The site is in Sumatra near todays Singapore. Reports I have seen suggest that the human population was reduced to 2000 breeding pairs World wide. The exact date should show in the ice cores, suppose I should approach Prof. Bob Carter of James Cook University Queensland to check it out,but your researches must show a drastic impact on the animal & plant communities of the time.Apparently the cooling went on for decades.

  11. True, per the chart I am using, there were 24 eruptions between the years 1335 to 1360. Yet, the cooling had already started around 1300. I believe there was low Solar output around the early 1300’s, although no Sunspot or Solar activity proxies were recorded to back up my claim. However there were “At least 90 major volcanic eruptions” during the Little Ice Age; more than any other cooling period in the past 4500 years. The chart prepared by Cliff Harris and Randy Mann suggest that when, Solar radiation is decreased and volcanic activity has increased, we have a sudden drop in global temperatures. I also notice that the warm periods appear to be getting shorter while the cold periods have been getting colder. Maybe we are in for the “Big One”? (An Ice Age, for we are due for one)

    Is it possible that the Sun’s output/magnetic field strength causes volcanic eruptions? Obviously, something is stirring the Earth’s core, for the magnetic poles are moving. Will we have a polar reversal? I think Robert would be a better expert to answer that question.

    Remember, we already have lower solar activity and global cooling, so more volcanic activity will make the Earth even colder. Truthfully, I hope there are no “Major” volcanic eruptions because I don’t want any excuses from the “Global Cooling Deniers” for the natural cooling with CO2 still increasing.

  12. Willis Eschenbach presented some very nice analysis at WUWT which pretty much debunks volcanic activity as being the predominant cause (if not the only one as some suggest)for initiating the LIA. I was (until this) an advocate for volcanism being a leading cause of the LIA and other more distant cool periods, but based on the information presented I expect you would need at least a Pinnatubo-sized event (probably a Tambora-sized event) at least once per decade for nearly a century to generate the sustained cooling to make a multi-century cold period after the volcanism ceases. There just is no evidence in the historical (recent) geologic record for that kind of volcanic activity.

    Read the presentations and judge for yourself; there are over 200 comments per presentation.

  13. Yes Agree!!The huge clouds of sulphate particles blasted into the upper atmosphere of the volcanoes are cooling the Earth down and then we get the domino effect! More ice and less heat absorption

  14. Massive Volcanic Eruptions in combination with minimal Sun Spot activity surely could cause an Ice Age. Perhaps even a full blown Ice Age if the trigger events are large enough or there are sufficient protracted events which prolong a Mini Ice Age to the tipping point.

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