Huge areas of the country became increasingly barren and less and less suitable for cattle farming.
How solar minimums affected Greenland
By J. H. Walker
Some say it was unrelenting cold and then ice, not global warming, that forced the Vikings out of Greenland.
But it was much, much worse than that. The majority of the Greenland Viking colony didn’t leave, they died in place though unrelenting cold and then ice, famine and disease, brought by the Wolf, and then Spoorer Grand Solar Minimums.
The rest moved during the mid-1300’s. Many Greenlanders had moved on to Markland (presently Newfoundland) in search of a more suitable environment, mainly due to a cooler climate and over-use of their natural resources.
However, a different study claims a longer time frame, at least until the Spoorer Minimum. It states:
By the year 1300 more than 3,000 colonists lived on 300 farms scattered along the west coast of Greenland (Schaefer, 1997.) However, even as early as 1197, the climate had turned much less favourable and drift ice was beginning to appear along the vital trade routes (Lamb, 1995.) Cool weather caused poor harvests in an already fragile climate. Because of the poor harvests there was less food for the livestock which resulted in a decreased meat supply. These conditions made it even more vital that trade continued with Iceland and the rest of Europe.
Due to an increase in drift ice along Greenland’s east coast, the sailing route had to be changed. Ships had to head farther south and then turn back to reach the settlements along the southwest coast. The longer distance and increased threat of ice caused fewer ships to visit Greenland (Bryson, 1977.) Ivar Bardsson, a Norwegian priest who lived in Greenland from 1341 to 1364, wrote: “From Snefelsness in Iceland, to Greenland, the shortest way: two days and three nights. Sailing due west. In…the sea there are reefs called Gunbiernershier. That was the old route, but now the ice is come from the north, so close to the reefs that none can sail by the old route without risking his life.”
This article says huge areas of the country became increasingly barren and less and less suitable for cattle farming.