The little ice age


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The little ice age

  1. 1. Climate & History History 141 50587Dave Martin[The Little Ice Age ]<br />The Little Ice Age17th Century Europe<br />What was the Little Ice Age?<br />When did the Little Ice Age occur?<br />What was its effect on History?<br />Researcher David Keys takes us through his many years of studies to determine the cause of the “Little Ice Age” in the mid 6th century. Evidence proves temperatures dropped and remained freezing for a year. <br />Often called “The Year Without Sun”, causes were investigated from extra terrestrial to ocean currents to volcanoes. Tree rings show reduced sunlight, reduced agriculture, and frost cold; very narrow rings.<br />Historical accounts from 535-536 by the Syrian Bishop John of Athetheus (sp?); "There was a sign from the sun, the like of which had never been seen before. The sun became dark and its darkness lasted for eighteen months. Each day it shown for about four hours, and still its light was but a feeble shadow. Everyone declared that the sun would never recover its full light again."<br />Cassiodorus of Italy"We have had a spring without mildness, and a summer without heat. The months we should have been maturing the crops have been chilled by north winds. Rain is denied. And the reaper fears no frost."<br />In 540 a Japan King wrote:"Food is the basis for great empire. Piles of gold and 10,000 strings of cash cannot cure the pains of hunger. What avails a thousand boxes of pearls to him who is starving of cold."<br />Nunche (sp?) of China wrote:“Yellow dust rained down like snow. It could be scooped up in handfuls.” <br />All of this evidence pointed to a “World Wide Disaster” of biblical proportions caused by either a Comet of significant size crashing into the earth and throwing up billions of tons of material into the stratosphere or a Volcanic Eruption of such immense magnitude to be heard thousands of miles away spewing enough smoke and ash into the atmosphere to blanket the earth for years.<br />An asteroid or comet would have to be 10 kilometers or larger to cause such devastation. No records of evidence for Asteroid or Comet have ever been found. However, the Tunguska Event – an air burst event from the early twentieth century could demonstrate an alternative. Still, no evidence for such an event has ever been found.<br />Also, remembering the account of Nunche (sp?), of yellow dust in large enough quantity to be scooped up in handfuls, and reports of a large bang to the south lead us to look for a volcanic event near Indonesia. Low frequency sound, say 10 cycles per second can travel 3000 miles.<br />Ice Core samples reveal sulfuric acid in both southern and northern hemispheres. This could only be caused by a major volcanic eruption. <br />And paintings from Joseph Turner show Red Sunsets, indicating tons of material in the atmosphere. The island of Krakatoa in Java, known to have a cycle of eruptions on a grand scale is right in the middle of over 90 equatorial volcanoes. An eruption from Krakatoa would be 2000 Hiroshima sized bombs, 10-100 times larger than anything ever witnessed and would have sent a 30 mile high mushroom cloud causing a natural nuclear winter. <br />Not as bad as they say! And look what its effect was on History!<br />Instead of the gloom and doom sensationalism the typical media films portray of the Little Ice Age, I will instead talk about the incredible benefits that came out of the Little Ice Age.<br />For centuries, civilizations fermented grapes to make wine. Due mainly to the Roman Empire, nearly all of Europe and the Mediterranean drank wine. "Water bad, spirits good." Keep in mind that nothing was known of the microscopic organisms inhabiting the lakes and streams, wells and cisterns where cities received their water supplies. What they did know was that if you drank plain water, you got sick. <br />Drinking wine was safe, as the fermenting process killed most of the germs in the water. Not that anyone knew this detail. What they knew was simply was "Water bad, spirits good." So, everyone drank wine. Men, women and children all drank wine. Wine was the nectar of the Gods. It made you feel good and it provided nutrients. The Romans brought wine and wine making with them where ever they went. Like their architecture, science, language and philosophy, they taught the locals how to grow grapes and make wine.<br />Now let us jump forward a few hundred years. Vineyards are everywhere, all over Europe. Everyone grows grapes and makes wine. Now comes along this abrupt climate change, the Little Ice Age. Vineyards shrivel and die. Grapes wither on the vine. (That is where that saying came from, by the way.) Well, what would you do? Start drinking water? . "Water bad, spirits good."!!! Remember that.<br />So what do the locals do? Especially in the northern climates where the changes were the most severe? Man is very ingenious and clever. Where there's a will, there's a way. Necessity is the mother of invention! Those clever barbarians found something else to ferment! Something that didn't 'wither on the vine'. Grains were plentiful and survived the cold weather. People started creating fermented spirits.<br />Scotch is born! My very clever ancestors started taking excess grains and fermenting them. They found that pretty much anything could be fermented into alcohol, they just had to figure out what tasted good. So, over the years, they developed whiskey. Alcohol made from wheat, barley, rye, oats. And later, corn, potato peals, juniper berries, just about anything that survived the cold, they harvested and fermented. <br />Now I'm sure there were many, many failures. You never hear of a drink made from acorns or chestnuts. I'm sure someone tried though. What did come from the Little Ice Age are some of the most incredible fermentations of grains man has ever invented. And Kilts. Well, that also comes from highly fermented grains. Or at least, the crazy barbarians who consumed the Scotch; they had to invent something else. Something without a zipper. So the Kilt was born. They were a simplistic people. <br />And today, thanks to the Little Ice Age, we have Scotch Whiskey that sells for $1700 a shot, aged in used oak wine barrels for 100 years. After all, they had all those wine barrels, and no wine to store in them. "Let's fill them up with Whiskey!" "Then we'll take the really crappy barrels and stick them way back in the barn and forget about them." "We'll save them for a rainy day." (The Scots never throw anything away). "Then in a couple hundred years, we'll sell it in a far off land full of morons with their noses up the air for lots of money." And so, in a little shop, along the Fisherman's Warf, in San Francisco, you can find a croc of very old, Scotch Whiskey, for $18,000.<br />"Let's all look on the bright side of life."<br />Sources:<br />Alan Cutler: GES 121, Humans and Global Change, The Little Ice Age: When Global Cooling Gripped the World<br />David Keys: The Little Ice Age<br />