The "Little Ice Age" of Europe: environmental causes and human effects

This Weather topic submitted by Andy Daley (daleyac@miavx1.miamioh.edu) on 3/2/98.


From the 13th to the 17th century C.E., the European Climate fluctuated from a warmer-than-present status to a colder-than-present mean temperature- the latter known as the beginning of the Little Ice Age which lasted till the 19th century. Although the total change in temperature was only around 1-2 degrees celsius, the Climate of Europe had marked differences to today: rivers like the Thames in England were regularly covered in ice and people were forced to migrate out of areas where glaciers continued to encroach upon the continent.
I plan on Studying the Climate of this era, what possible causes were (e.g., sunspots, variations in orbit, and/or volcanic activity?), and how understanding fluctuations in Climate of the past can help in the understanding of their regularity, severity and the possibility for them in the future.
So far my possible Sources are:

Tanner, W.F. Cause and development of an Ice age. _J.Geology_ 73:413-30, 1965.

_Climates Past and Present_. Brian J. Skinner, ed. William Kaufmann, Inc., 1981.

Siddle, D.J. "Migration as a Strategy of Accumulation: Social and economic change in 18th century Savoy" _Economic History Review_ v50/1, 1-20: 1997.

Kington, J. _The Weather of the 1780's over Europe._ Cambridge Press, 1998.

Varekamp, J.C.; Thomas, E.; Van de Plassche, O. "Relative Sea-level rise and Climate change over the last 1500 years." _Terra Nova_, v4 n3 pp293-304, 1992.


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