How solar minimums affected Greenland

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.



13 thoughts on “How solar minimums affected Greenland”

  1. What happens to places currently too hot for farming? Do they be one more fertile?

    The key here is the overall fertility balance across the globe. There will always be regions becoming unproductive due to cold, heat, aridity or salt flooding…..

  2. There hasn’t been much cattle ranching in Greenland lately has there?
    That says something about the climate. There hasn’t really been much of a recovery from the last little ice age. We are approaching a major glaciation.

  3. It was around 1200-1250 that the Pueblos & cliff dwellings were abandoned in the Colorado-New Mexico-Arizona-Utah (Four Corners) area.

  4. I always thought that it was the cold that forced the Vikings to leave Greenland, and that they initially went there because the climate had got warmer. That’s why they called it Greenland. Don’t think I’ve read anything that said they left because of global warming! Or has history been rewritten again to suit the AGW agenda? And if that’s so, where was the Viking industry that made CO2 levels rise? Did they manufacture cars? 🙂

    • I put the four examples in the piece to show the various published research; and peer reviewed papers on the difference between the Climates during the Medieval Warm period and the lower, but not by much Modern Warm Period.
      With the proof that Greenland still hasn’t recovered to a climate point to be able to ranch cattle, and grow fodder to keep them alive thought 5 months of darkness and the current Arctic winter without the modern Energy civilisation supporting it.
      With trade links in the 1200s performed by open, wooden boats 60Ft long during a small window of Spring and Summer, a late Greenland Summer can very difficult from the series of Tropical Storms generated to the west of Africa, into the Caribbean, up toward Florida, and then into the Westerlies pointing directly over Newfoundland and into the gap between Iceland and Greenland together with early drift Ice from a collapsing climate.
      The latter paper I’m most concerned about, it smacks of Warmism, of pandering to a learned AGW Professor, AGW Ologists are the most fearful of empirical evidence disproving CO2 Global warming, rather than Water Vapour which as a GHG keeps the balance between too hot or too cold. With Time scales in the 10s, 100s and 1000s of years. The key is the historical data and unfortunately it needs protecting from the zealots of both persuasions.
      As in politics, and AGW is politics, the pendulum has swung too far towards the hard left greens who hidden from view, wish to remove Humans from the Earth as a specie. They may get their wish, as Grand Solar Minimums reset human civilisations and start new ones over 1000 year time scales; major Glacial advances reset or end entire evolutionary paths and create space for new evolutionary paths to commence over 10000 – 400000 year time scales.

  5. I find that the date of the Greenland exodus is interesting after watching a PBS/NOVA show last week. SO what does A 4000 person mass grave in England and ice cores from both artic circles have in common ??? A volcano in Indonesia.
    If you can get the opportunity to watch this program…it will be very enlightening. Here is the link:
    Program Description:
    Follow a team of volcano sleuths as they embark on a worldwide hunt for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze. The mystery begins when archaeologists find a hastily dug mass grave of 4,000 men, women, and children in London. At first they assume it’s a plague pit from the Black Death, but when they date the bones, they turn out to be too old by a century. So what killed off these families? The chronicles of that time describe a run of wild weather that devastated crops and spread famine across Europe. NOVA’s expert team looks for the signature of a volcanic eruption big enough to have blasted a huge cloud of ash and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which chilled the entire planet. From Greenland to Antarctica, the team finds telltale “fingerprints” in ice and soil layers until, finally, they narrow down the culprit to a smoldering crater on a remote Indonesian island. Nearly 750 years ago, this volcano’s colossal explosion shot a million tons of rock and ash every second into the atmosphere. Across the globe, it turned summer into winter. What would happen if another such cataclysm struck again today?

  6. The other problem with an ice age is less precipitation!
    Regions that are currently productive, could in a very short space of time become arid and non productive. Imagine if the dust bowl of the 1930’s America became worldwide!

    Unfortunately people, there is a sh*t storm coming and most of the world are not prepared in any way?

    • There is an exhibit in the Perot Natural History Museum in downtown Dallas, that shows what East Texas was like during the depths of the last glaciation. It was cold, but also very dry, sparse grassland. It certainly didn’t contain the bountiful trees that it does today.

  7. One of the main elements of the Greenlanders economy was walrus tusks. These are ivory much in demand in Europe. It was like gold.
    The climate changes and changes of fashion in European demand for ivory was a factor.
    The Walruses may have changed their behaviour due to the increasing cold.

Comments are closed.