Little Ice Age

Topics: Solar variation, Climate change, Climate Pages: 10 (2469 words) Published: March 10, 2011

2Objectives/ Hypothesis & Methods4
3Environmental Setting6
4Scientific Setting6


8.2Scheme (Gantt Chart)8


The little ice age (LIA) occurred in AD 1450 to 1850 (appendix 8.4), and, thus far, scarce research has been done to inquire why it occurred, however there are many theories, e.g Ocean-Temperature Conveyor System(‘The little Ice Age’[online]), but have not been expanded upon. This research proposal’s aim is to gain information on the LIA via a geological aspect, providing a distinctive and new perspective, in addition to, broadening existing knowledge. The chosen method would be to use sediment cores.

Earlier records have divulged in exploring the influence the LIA had on society; agriculture & health, economy; wine production, and nature; forest. The LIA has even shown to have influenced culture, literature and art; both early artists’ images of glaciers and modern photography have provided particularly graphic illustration of the dramatic climatic changes associated with the LIA in Europe (Mann, M., (2002).

During the coldest periods of the LIA, the growing season in many countries was shortened by one to two months compared to the present, causing poor yields, and leading to a depression. In 1693, many people in France and adjacent countries suffered starvation due to decreased agricultural production (Mandia, S., [Online]). Many accidents occurred because of the change; one particular incident was between 1710 and 1735 a glacier (Nigardsbreen, Norway) advanced at a rate of 100m per year. Then again another glacier (Engabreen, Norway) in 1720 buried a farm; other glaciers threatened farms in Norway.

There were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. One example is the decrease of grape production in the vineyards, in the 1400’s, as a corollary effect of the colder climate (Mandia, S., [Online]). Another such industry was fisheries; as the expanded sea ice extent in the North Atlantic it created problems for fishermen in Iceland and Scandinavia, and for the Norse settlements in Iceland and Greenland. During the late 14th century, an increase in sea-ice cover blocked previously used trade routes cutting off trade with mainland Europe, which the Norse settlements relied upon (Campbell, I., et al 1993).Not only that but disruption of micro-climates caused mass migration of many flora and fauna species to the warmer southern hemisphere, like cod, which impaired fisheries even more.

Furthermore, throughout the LIA a drastic change occur with the various tree species ratio population. Campbell, I., et al (1993) provided evidence of the rapid cooling of the LIA causing, Fagus (beech), a former dominant ’warmth-loving’ species, being replaced by oak (Quercus) and pine (Pinus strobus).

The thought behind this it that all that and more occurred recently for no apparent reason and what’s to stop it from happening again. Similar consequences could be expected by a climate change in western Norway. The climate change in the present era has been a hot topic for public debate lately, and these findings formed from geology may show new significantly interesting information, building furthermore on current knowledge. In order of understanding the recent dramatic change in climate understanding the source of the LIA may be a crucial aspect. After doing so it may be possible to predict changes before they occur; for instances foreseeing natural disasters like avalanches and flooding would save many lives, in addition to a better quality of living.

The preferred research method would be to gather sediment cores in sequence form, from the Barsnes fjord (fjord) and Hafslovatnet (lake). Both the Barsnes fjord and the Hafslovatnet have well preserved sediments that provide a good base for drawing conclusions the changes that triggered the...

References: Munsell., (1994, Ed.) Munsell soil colour charts. Munsell Colour, GretagMacbeth, NY, USA.
Rothwell R. Guy, & Rack Frank R., (2006) New techniques in sediment core analysis: an introduction 267; 1-29 Geological Society, London, Special Publications
Paetzel, M., and Dale, T., (2009)
Paetzel, M., and Schrader, H., (1991). Heavy Metal (Zn, Cu, Pb) accumulation in the Barsnesfjord: Western Norway. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift. 71, 65-73.
Peatzel, M., and Schrader, H., (1992). Recent environmental changes recorded in anoxic Barsnesfjord sediments: Western Norway. Marine Geology. 71, 65-73.
Grove, Jean. M., (1988) The Little Ice Age. Methuen: London.
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