Cold Kills: The coldest decade of the millennium

Whitby Abbey in the snow - the shell of the 13th-century church (image for illustration from Pinterest)

Whitby Abbey in the snow – the shell of the 13th-century church (image for illustration of the article from Pinterest)

From the EUROPEAN GEOSCIENCES UNION and the “cold kills, so why all the whining about warming?” department.

How the cold 1430s led to famine and disease

While searching through historical archives to find out more about the 15th-century climate of what is now Belgium, northern France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, Chantal Camenisch noticed something odd. “I realised that there was something extraordinary going on regarding the climate during the 1430s,” says the historian from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Compared with other decades of the last millennium, many of the 1430s’ winters and some springs were extremely cold in the Low Countries, as well as in other parts of Europe. In the winter of 1432-33, people in Scotland had to use fire to melt wine in bottles before drinking it. In central Europe, many rivers and lakes froze over. In the usually mild regions of southern France, northern and central Italy, some winters lasted until April, often with late frosts. This affected food production and food prices in many parts of Europe. “For the people, it meant that they were suffering from hunger, they were sick and many of them died,” says Camenisch.

She joined forces with Kathrin Keller, a climate modeller at the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research in Bern, and other researchers, to find out more about the 1430s climate and how it impacted societies in northwestern and central Europe. Their results are published today in Climate of the Past, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

They looked into climate archives, data such as tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and historical documents, to reconstruct the climate of the time. “The reconstructions show that the climatic conditions during the 1430s were very special. With its very cold winters and normal to warm summers, this decade is a one of a kind in the 400 years of data we were investigating, from 1300 to 1700 CE,” says Keller. “What cannot be answered by the reconstructions alone, however, is its origin – was the anomalous climate forced by external influences, such as volcanism or changes in solar activity, or was it simply the random result of natural variability inherent to the climate system?”

bernese-chronicle-1439

One of the historical documents analysed by the team was a Bernese chronicle which contains the record ‘Von einem grossen Sterbot zu Bernn’ 1439 (About a great mortality in Bern 1439), Diebold Schilling, Amtliche Berner Chronik (1478-1483), vol. 2, Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Mss.h.h.I.2, p. 6. CREDIT Bern Burgerbibliothek, http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch

There have been other cold periods in Europe’s history. In 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora spewed large quantities of ash and particles into the atmosphere, blocking enough sunlight to significantly reduce temperatures in Europe and other parts of the world. But the 1430s were different, not only in what caused the cooling but also because they hadn’t been studied in detail until now.

The climate simulations ran by Keller and her team showed that, while there were some volcanic eruptions and changes in solar activity around that time, these could not explain the climate pattern of the 1430s. The climate models showed instead that these conditions were due to natural variations in the climate system, a combination of natural factors that occurred by chance and meant Europe had very cold winters and normal to warm summers. [See note]

Regardless of the underlying causes of the odd climate, the 1430s were “a cruel period” for those who lived through those years, says Camenisch. “Due to this cluster of extremely cold winters with low temperatures lasting until April and May, the growing grain was damaged, as well as the vineyards and other agricultural production. Therefore, there were considerable harvest failures in many places in northwestern and central Europe. These harvest failures led to rising food prices and consequently subsistence crisis and famine. Furthermore, epidemic diseases raged in many places. Famine and epidemics led to an increase of the mortality rate.” In the paper, the authors also mention other impacts: “In the context of the crisis, minorities were blamed for harsh climatic conditions, rising food prices, famine and plague.” However, in some cities, such as Basel, Strasbourg, Cologne or London, societies adapted more constructively to the crisis by building communal granaries that made them more resilient to future food shortages.

Keller says another decade of very cold winters could happen again. “However, such temperature variations have to be seen in the context of the state of the climate system. Compared to the 15th century we live in a distinctly warmer world. As a consequence, we are affected by climate extremes in a different way – cold extremes are less cold, hot extremes are even hotter.”

The team says their Climate of the Past study could help people today by showing how societies can be affected by extreme climate conditions, and how they should take precautions to make themselves less vulnerable to them. In the 1430s, people had not been exposed to such extreme conditions before and were unprepared to deal with the consequences.

“Our example of a climate-induced challenge to society shows the need to prepare for extreme climate conditions that might be coming sooner or later,” says Camenisch. “It also shows that, to avoid similar or even larger crises to that of the 1430s, societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.”

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Link to the paper: http://www.clim-past.net/12/2107/2016

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191 thoughts on “Cold Kills: The coldest decade of the millennium

  1. Pure neo-Marxism:

    In the context of the crisis, minorities were blamed for harsh climatic conditions, rising food prices, famine and plague.” However, in some cities, such as Basel, Strasbourg, Cologne or London, societies adapted more constructively to the crisis by building communal granaries that made them more resilient to future food shortages.

    • And where are those granaries today? Our need for their security did not disappear just because we are fortunately living in a temporarily warm period. Times of plenty is the time to fill adequate reserves for times of scarcity. You know – plan for the worst – hope for the best. GK

      • GK,

        Your truism fails to explain why a communal granary is more effective than individuals storing their own grain. As with any type of communist wealth redistribution it erodes the individual’s incentive and need to work.

        It’s too cold to plow today. I’m going to stay inside by the fire, cause thanks to the communal granary I know I won’t starve.

      • Rob Morrow December 1, 2016 at 8:49 am
        GK,

        Your truism fails to explain why a communal granary is more effective than individuals storing their own grain. As with any type of communist wealth redistribution it erodes the individual’s incentive and need to work.

        At that time England was under the feudal system certainly not a communist one!

        It’s too cold to plow today. I’m going to stay inside by the fire, cause thanks to the communal granary I know I won’t starve.

        Not an option under the feudal system! You also apparently failed to read that it was the cities that built the granaries, the inhabitants of which were not working in the fields.

      • Phil,

        This is meaningless sleight of hand.

        At that time England was under the feudal system certainly not a communist one!

        Wealth redistribution under any form or government is still wealth redistribution. “Communal” (granary) and “Communist” have the same root for a reason.

        Not an option under the feudal system! You also apparently failed to read that it was the cities that built the granaries, the inhabitants of which were not working in the fields.

        Of course people in cities don’t plow. As a city dweller getting a free grain stipend from the communal granary, one has a similarly lowered incentive and need to work.

      • Rob Morrow – As long as the reserve exist, I don’t really care who creates them and neither will you, when beast and man are starving. Food reserve just doesn’t exist adequately today IMHO GK

      • Rob Morrow December 1, 2016 at 9:30 am

        Everyone needs to stop with the fixation of socialism/communism for why pre-twentieth century societies took the steps they did. Marx did not write his Das Kapital until 1867 so why would anyone try to atribute concepts of an economic theory to a sociaty that had no knowledge or understanding of it. They based their actions on what they thought would work best for them. Judge how well their “communal granaries” worked for them.
        First the “communal granaries” were actually typical of most cities -they were there to withstand SIEGES!
        Next your view of a work ethic and theirs are vastly different. They had ways of dealing wrth artful slackers. Also, many cities at the time used the Guild system for non-agricultural workers. Also, besides the normal stockpiled city supplies, you had commercial granaries and warehouses which were used to store surplus grains and other commodities. You might buy from a farmer, pay a fee to store and later sell, gosh, just like today.

        The author was taking liberaties with the term communal granaries, ever hear of a Grange or a Co-op we use them today. Leave the Marxism to Karl he was better at defining it.

        michael

      • Rob Morrow December 1, 2016 at 9:30 am
        Phil,

        This is meaningless sleight of hand.

        “At that time England was under the feudal system certainly not a communist one!”

        Wealth redistribution under any form or government is still wealth redistribution. “Communal” (granary) and “Communist” have the same root for a reason.

        “Not an option under the feudal system! You also apparently failed to read that it was the cities that built the granaries, the inhabitants of which were not working in the fields.”

        Of course people in cities don’t plow. As a city dweller getting a free grain stipend from the communal granary, one has a similarly lowered incentive and need to work.

        Your total lack of knowledge of the history and your naive assumption that ‘communal’ meant ‘free’ means that you’re talking nonsense. The granaries were built to ensure a reliable supply of grain for the local bakers so that the inhabitants would have bread, no one got free grain or free bread. The Leadenhall granary in London was built in response to the earlier Black Death with a view to cleaning up the city streets, no more butchery and fishmongers in the streets with the attendant debris. The granary was built with a market place for the butchers/fishmongers etc. as well as the storage facilities. Buyers were sent out to buy grain to ensure a steady supply, in those days the locals tended to get upset when they couldn’t buy bread and tended to rebel so the ruling class had a vested interest in keeping the locals content. Especially when the army was off fighting in France in the Hundred Years War. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 would have been fresh in their minds!

      • Rob: This reminds me of a story I have to tell. Back in the early 60’s I would go out with my family each week to visit my Father a life long Nebraska Farmer. During one of these visits I asked, which do you thing will fail first the USSR or America. He replied: well if we don’t blow each other up first it will absolutely be the USSR, and I will tell you why.

        It’s harvest time and the wheat is looking great this year when a weather announcement is reporting severe winds and hail for tomorrow. Every farmer in the area is harvesting at maximum effort until the storm arrives. Meanwhile with the same circumstances in the USSR the result would be the opposite. Since the harvest in the USSR belongs to the state and not the individual the farm laborer has no incentive to put forth extra effort; in fact with less than normal effort and if the storm is severe enough it may destroy the crop and may not even be harvested.

        My Father continued: In the USSR or where ever socialism abounds this type of behavior is common throughout society and results in a slow deterioration of life in general and here in the USA that deterioration began under Wilson and Roosevelt and continues today With Kennedy. We must live with our decisions and never know what might have been. Without our Constitution and the rule of law no government has lasted as long. Our Constitution is constantly under duress and must be preserved before all else to sustain our nation.

      • Phil,
        You’ve missed my point, and perhaps that’s my fault.

        I don’t care whether the bread was free for the poor, subsidized, inflated in price for government monopoly, or whatever. No doubt there have been variations on all of these in history.

        My point is, the authors implied that those citizens who didn’t mandate their city to build a communal granary were racists. That’s it. It’s a ridiculous thing to imply, and it’s the sort of thing we’ve heard for the last 18 months from the Democrats.

        Of course, one communal service doesn’t constitute communism, but when the Left end of the spectrum constantly badgers the rest of us, calling them racists/sexist/homophobes/etc if they don’t agree to new government mandates for this that and the other, communism is basically the end product, if not the intentional goal.

      • Well I actually prefer the Feudal system myself; if properly organized.

        You eliminate all governing bodies smaller than say a County Council. These days, anything smaller is not able to survive.
        Then every citizen resident of the county of voting age, gets to vote for a slate of county counselors; I like 13 of them. So you pick your 13. None of this, I represent that district BS. They all work for the whole county.
        Then those 13 who are elected, are the ONLY persons in the entire known universe who can tax you (or me). Then once a month, they nominate one of them to go to Sacramento to attend the monthly one day meeting of the State Government; which of course consists only of those county representatives. They get funds to built roads between the counties, by taxing the counties; not me.
        Once per quarter, the State selects one of their number to go to Washington DC to attend the week long meeting of the Federal government. Mostly they talk about how much is each State’s share of the National Defense budget, so the feds tax the state government; not the counties nor me.
        So I get to vote for or against the only people who can tax me
        Anything we can’t handle in the County, we can pass off to Sacramento at the monthly meeting, and they can argue with the feds for the California share of the defense budget.

        Not quite like the old feudal system; but much better for everybody.

        G

      • Rob and Phil, the feudal system redistributed wealth upward through threat of force. “Property” was acquired and held via threat of force to the people living on the property. Your typical feudal lord was either a bandit or descended from one. In England feudalism did not emerge until the Norman Conquest and never acquired the hold it had in France, Prussia or Russia. In England a significant portion of the population remained in the yeomanry and thus owned their land. In a truly feudal society like France or Russia right up to the Russian revolution, the land was owned by feudal landlords. The people living on it were tenants at best – peasants as in France prior to the French Revolution, and at worst were essentially property – slaves or serfs, as in Russia right up until their revolution.

        If you compare the relatively libertarian yeoman society of England in fifteenth century and the feudal society of France with modern American society, we are effectively a feudal society. We pay taxes simply to maintain our property rights. Paying off a house doesn’t make you a freeholder. Your tribute money is simply reduced to property taxes, income taxes, franchise taxes, sales taxes, license fees and on and on. Modern Great Britain has been steadily sliding toward the same state, ahead of the US, over the last few centuries. If you look at a decent history of gun control in Britain, you will find that Britain has always lead the US in restrictions, and we follow along like sheep.

        When you consider towns and cities in the Renaissance, which is well underway by the 15th century – the period in the OP, modern – well real – capitalism is practiced only in cities and then only in cities that were not under a feudal lord’s rule. Communes were alliances of free people living in a city and often the farmers living on surrounding land. Communes are origin of city-states. Quite a number of people seem to think the Venice was a feudal city, but it was a republic and the Doge was elected by the city’s committee of Forty. In Genoa the same office was elected by popular vote.

        If you want to see the interaction between yeoman land owners and a feudalistic bandit, lookup the conflict between the Scottish landowners and Donald Trump at his Balmedie golf course. His description of his “neighbors.” especially Michael Forbes, makes Clinton’s “deplorable” gaff look mild. And I did not vote for Clinton or the Green Party, so don’t bother jumping to conclusions. I grew up on a ranch and we had outbuildings always in need of maintenance, there were rusting vehicles that had died and not been scrapped yet, cattle and a couple of horses in the pastures, and we had chickens wandering the yard during the day – real free-range. DT would have described our ranch as a “slum” if we had lived next to a proposed Trump golf course. Look up Wu Ping and Nail House to see how very similar Trump and the Chinese Communist government behave.

      • the granaries are now privately owned, by glencore viterra and other mega agri mobs
        no joy there if things go pearshaped

      • Of course people in cities don’t plow.

        Not in modern cities and towns, ……. they don‘t plow.

        But in medieval Europe …….. everyone lived in a town or a city …… and the ones that did any plowing HAD TO go out of town or out of the city to do their plowing. To wit:

        European Farming During Middle Ages to 1800’s

        Each serf would have to pay to work a strip of land. The strip was defined by the acre. The acre was the amount one could plow in one days work. As well, the serf would have a set amount of days they would be required to work on the lords land. The system was called the open field system. In this system, temporary hedges would be set up to keep cattle out of the fields. The strips were only regarded as owned by the serf during the time of crop growing. After the crop was harvested the land would revert to common land for cattle grazing. This system was a disincentive to developing the land or conserving the soil. http://historylink101.com/lessons/farm-city/middle-ages.htm

      • Duster
        December 2, 2016 at 1:49 am

        Russian serfs were freed in 1861.

        The Revolution (so-called) turned all Russians into serfs. It freed no one and enslaved everyone except the Bolshevik gang.

        Moreover, most the leading revolutionaries weren’t even Russians of Russian Orthodox ancestry. They were essentially alien oppressors.

    • GK,
      Clearly I do care whether or not my earnings belong to me or the state, or I wouldn’t have pointed out the marxist language used by the author.

      Mike,
      Other than pointing out the language used by the authors and what that indicates about their political views, I was not attempting to explain why anybody did anything in any period.

      If you parse the quote that I posted at the top, it roughly translates to “the pragmatic people pooled their wealth to overcome a common problem, and everybody else was racist”. If you don’t think this is the same message coming from the regressive left today, than you weren’t paying attention to the US election.

      • Rob Morrow December 1, 2016 at 11:32 am
        “Of course people in cities don’t plow. As a city dweller getting a free grain stipend from the communal granary,”

        “Your truism fails to explain why a communal granary is more effective than individuals storing their own grain. As with any type of communist wealth redistribution it erodes the individual’s incentive and need to work.”

        You were the one to take the leap from communal to communist. You detemined for yourself the political leanings of the Authors based on your interpratations of their definitions. The term communal pre-dates Marx.
        It’s use is common in such contacts.

        ” If you don’t think this is the same message coming from the regressive left today, than you weren’t paying attention to the US election”

        What does that have to do with what we are duscussing? And it also shows you jump to false conclusions in regards to the people speaking with you.

        As I said despense with the projecting of modern politics to earlier communities there is no commonality.

        By the way communal, the root is Latin. It has nothing to do with Marxism.
        By the way if you have never read Das Kapital do so. Know your enemies.
        Also it may keep you from condescending to allies

        anyway

      • Mike,

        What does that have to do with what we are duscussing? And it also shows you jump to false conclusions in regards to the people speaking with you.

        The overarching theme from the Democrats this election cycle was “if you don’t agree with our party, the party who always wants to grow government, you’re a racist/sexist/homophobe/etc”. If you disagree with this statement, you probably voted for Hillary and are still scratching your head as to how Trump could have won.

        Governments can only get so big before they must be considered socialist or communist. Communism is not a black or white concept. There’s a lot of grey area which separates communism from socialism from classical liberalism from libertarianism from anarchy. It’s a spectrum. Go enough increments toward the left and you get to communism.

        Back to the quote I originally posted:

        In the context of the crisis, minorities were blamed for harsh climatic conditions, rising food prices, famine and plague.” However, in some cities, such as Basel, Strasbourg, Cologne or London, societies adapted more constructively to the crisis by building communal granaries that made them more resilient to future food shortages.

        Again, when parsed, this translates to some cities mandated their government to provide a communal service which was not provided before, those that didn’t were racists”.” Racial agitation has long been part of Marxist methods, though the current wave of leftists go about it in a different way. Instead of trying to directly foment anger withing minority communities to stir up violent revolution, today’s leftists attempt to signal their virtue like peacocks while calling everybody else racist. This way, they can break down the electorate into manageable blocks of minorities which can be scared into voting left by stirring up fear of the “deplorables”.

        Anybody who implies you’re a racist because you aren’t in favour of providing your government with a broader mandate, is, in my books, a neo-marxist, or is at the very least employing similar methods to achieve similar ends.

        If it smells like a watermelon, and tastes like a watermelon… It’s a watermelon.

      • Rob Morrow December 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm
        normally I would stop bothering, but I think we can talk.

        “minorities were blamed for harsh climatic conditions, rising food prices, famine and plague.”

        You are correct there is coding here, but not what you think. First, you have to know who the minorities were.
        Gypsies, Jews, and non-Catholics.
        Jews for the most part, they were able to lend money for profit, so in any disturbances, well go figure. need a debt canceled,? Standard practice. Read up on it. you won’t jump to such false conclusions

        “Governments can only get so big before they must be considered socialist or communist. Communism is not a black or white concept.”

        Hmm did Karl Publish a volume that I am unaware of? Please cite the volume. Page.

        Rob, I am a Reagan Republican, what will do if you meet a real marxist? None of your knee jerk assumptions are applicable when reading papers written by a historian. Their buzz words are different.

        “While searching through historical archives to find out more about the 15th-century climate of what is now Belgium, northern France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, Chantal Camenisch noticed something odd. “I realised that there was something extraordinary going on regarding the climate during the 1430s,” says the historian from the University of Bern in Switzerland.”

        Have a good night, and read up on Karl you have a lot of misconceptions.
        It will give you better arguments.

        your friend
        michael

      • And Mike,

        By the way communal, the root is Latin. It has nothing to do with Marxism.
        By the way if you have never read Das Kapital do so. Know your enemies.
        Also it may keep you from condescending to allies

        I can’t help myself but “condescend” a little more. I get passionate about this sort of thing, you know, personal freedom, the value of the constitution, common law, private property, etc. When somebody starts two of three consecutive sentences with the phrase “by the way and then goes on call the recipient condescending, it is more than a little hypocritical.

        A breakdown of the first two sentences in the above quote to show that you are wrong, in addition to being a condescending little hypocrite:

        By the way communal, the root is Latin.

        And, so? When you start a sentence that way, I must assume you were trying to convey some sort of manifest and material truth. Yet, whether the source language is Latin or Greek or anything else is not only irrelevant, it is not in contradiction with anything I’ve written.

        It has bnothing to do with Marxism.

        Here’s where you’re 100% wrong. Communism describes a society that ideologically strives for total or near total communality (but always fails to achieve, at least in every real world experiment the result is serfdom and a ruling class), which is a measure of the degree to which the wealth and property of the citizenry is shared communally. And the word “communal” has nothing to do with Marxism? Yeah, I’ll condescend some when presented with aggressive nonsense. Guilty.

      • Rob, I am a Reagan Republican, what will do if you meet a real marxist? None of your knee jerk assumptions are applicable when reading papers written by a historian. Their buzz words are different.

        I’m fairly confident that my interpretation is the correct meaning of the words used in the original quote. If you disagree, please break it down and explain the use of the words “however” and “more” to distinguish between the group who built granaries and the others who were racists. Otherwise dispense with your own knee-jerk reactions of continually assuming that I’m trying to say anything about the historical period in question. That has never been my intention.

      • In the paper, the authors also mention other impacts: “In the context of the crisis, minorities were blamed for harsh climatic conditions, rising food prices, famine and plague.” However, in some cities, such as Basel, Strasbourg, Cologne or London, societies adapted more constructively to the crisis by building communal granaries that made them more resilient to future food shortages.

        You’ll notice that this is a compound quote, such that it is not the historian-author of the actual paper who twists language in a neo-marxist way, it’s whoever wrote the snippet article. This person took the quote about blaming minorities out of context, and followed it up by contrasting that group with a successful group who did something communally. I wrote that this is typical of today’s democrats, but you thought it was of topic, even though I am drawing a direct line for you.

        Again, I think I’ve made it pretty clear in this thread that my issue is with the language used, the labeling of groups as racist/sexist/homophobic/etc because of how they vote. I am by no means attached to the phrase “neo-marxist” or “communist” or any other label in this context. I don’t hold those words in high esteem or believe in purity of ideology or anything like that. If you’re a Reagan republican, you are very confused about what you are trying to argue.

      • Rob Morrow wrote..
        “My point is, the authors implied that those citizens who didn’t mandate their city to build a communal granary were racists”.

        Ay? Please explain.
        Racist with respect to whom?

        And individuals storing their grain?
        How does a peasant farmer/ not much more than a serf afford storage?
        A modern grain farmer can store on farm because of the scale of their operations.
        In medieval times individual small scale grain producers storing their own grain would have been like The Great Leap Forward when Mao mandated iron smelters in everybody’s backyard. Didn’t work for Mao and wouldn’t have worked in 1430. And their feudal overlords would not have allowed them to do it.

        Further it was the cities attempting to secure their grain supplies.
        While the approach to the market at the time was not in tune with current free market mores it was done without suggestion of Marxist collectivism or any ideology at all. The cities wanted grain and they intended to get it by whatever methods were necessary.

      • @Greg

        Ay? Please explain.
        Racist with respect to whom?

        As you’ll read in the quote I originally posted, the target group(s) are described only as “minorities”. The target group is immaterial to my point.

        All of your subsequent comments assume (falsely) that I’m making some sort of commentary on the historical period in question, rather than on the present state of language degradation and identity politics.

    • This is not Marxism, neo or otherwise. As has been stated below, the middle ages operated on a feudal model that was still closely tied to village economics, in which life was not a zero sum game and the distinction between private and “communal” interest not as opposed as you assume. You really need to study some history before throwing those labels around. By your definitions, a hospital or a bridge is a “communist” enterprise.

      • See above. It is not my intention to categorize one communal service in the middle ages as communist in any modern or totalitarian sense.

        Publicly owned hospitals and bridges are not by themselves enough to be considered a communist enterprise. I don’t know if anybody has tried to quantify the threshold of communism i.e. what percentage of the economy must controlled by government, levels of taxation, etc, which must exist for that society to be considered communist. For utility’s sake, I think most of us consider it to be somewhere between 100% and some amount less than 100%.

        If we’re talking about you as a voter being labeled a racist/sexist/homophobe/etc by the left just because you vote a certain way or are not a minority, and the voters give-in en-masse incrementally until the new demands for bigger government eventually swell the public sector beyond the previously mentioned threshold, then yeah, those same hospitals and bridges would be part of a communist enterprise.

    • America Cares… I’m sending you a shovel. … I always wondered about that. Why would they send someone a shovel, when what they need is a system. ” I don’t need a track hoe, I can get a hundred men with shovels “…. really? Why don’t you get a thousand with Teaspoons? ( actual conversation) I guess it gives some people who feel guilty about their standard of living to feel better about themselves as the dig arsenic laced wells. And I thought they gave up lead pipes with the Romans. And at least one person that I think is pretty intelligent, thinks people aren’t that stupid. Hello, Flint Michigan.
      Some societies are immune from adapting or changing.

    • If the king is to survive the winter, what does he need? More army? Or a placated population? Marxism? No, reality. Yes. Yes, he could keep all the goods for himself, let the army die off, since they are not the serfs, but now, who guards the walls? The serfs? Even the arch conservative would balk at that, a neo conservative would bark at the chance to enslave the king, so what would you do?

    • As a Jew, I am a bit outraged at all the comments denying racism because bigotry is politically incorrect in OUR time. Hitler was far from the first European to take it into his head to kill Jews. Jewish history recounts many, many mass murders of Jews in Europe–and if I recall things correctly, more than one genocidal incident occurred in that particular decade.
      It makes perfect sense to me that other minorities would have been similarly affected.
      And if we want to prevent anti-semitism, or various other bigotries in the United States (or your nation all you others here), an important key is to see to it that there is food security.

      • ladylifegrows December 1, 2016 at 6:25 pm
        Please I hope you are not cross with me if you are speaking of the statements I made,
        I felt they needed to be stated.

        michael

      • As a rational person, I’m a bit outraged at your false outrage, that you would accuse anybody in this thread of denying racism. Please point it out. You won’t find a single comment, let alone enough to justify your use of the phrase “all the comments denying racism”.

        You have just provided a textbook example of an attempt to coerce people into a political position by invoking racism and emotional righteousness as your main argument. If you’re a Jew and you think that’s a good reason to go above and beyond in the food supply, great, go ahead and increase your personal cache, but don’t tell be that we need to increase the food supply society-wide on that basis.

        As a voter and consumer and thinker, I don’t care one way or the other if you’re a Jew. It doesn’t make your case more compelling. I think you only brought it up so you could immediately allude to Hitler.

        And the comment from Mike above is an example of somebody who has little intellectual integrity and easily falls prey to that sort of baiting. He didn’t say anything denying racism, but he sure was quick to prostrate himself as soon as you summoned up the racist boogey man.

      • Dear ladylifegrows,

        You are quite correct regarding genocidal attacks on European Jews across centuries.
        But despite appearances many of these attacks were not strictly due to racism/anti-semitism but to greed. The people who provoked the attacks, frequently the aristocrats, were not necessarily anti-semitic but used anti-semitism [which was encouraged by the church] to provoke mobs to attack Jewish communities. Among the Jewish community were Jewish bankers/moneylenders [Christians were forbidden to charge interest].

        Aristocrats frequently borrowed large amounts of money [from Jews] to fund their military obligations to their prince or king.
        Your creditor dies [for whatever reason] and so does the debt

    • Why do Americans think that any kind of planning or working together to build a better future or mitigate risk is communism? Very odd – fortunately the rest of the world gets on with it.

    • lol rob you made me laugh…

      are you actually aware that communal granaries were the key to surviving the LIA related seiges, shortages,…? Of course not! If we back then in time in europe wouldn’t have done this because some silly author Marx wrote “Das kapitaal” and that it would be defined as “communism” later on, you for sure wouldn’t have existed because your ancestors would have died of starvation caused by the LIA before they could migrate to the USA/Canada settle there and build up till you are born.

      a lot of those communal services from the cities and guilds were the roots out of which the industrial revolution did got born. Without them cities never could have become trade centers, and places of exchange of wisdom. without that we would still live in the dark middle ages.

      labeling the author as pro communist, because he describes a system of 1430 is what i call random political zealotry.

      the only person you made a fool of is…. yourself

      • You have misunderstood my meaning entirely. Read the rest of the thread before throwing insults around.

        My use of the term “neo-marxism” was highlighting the manipulative language used by the author of the article. The communal services and guilds in cities are indeed the roots our current system. My point is, they came about because of their own economic and strategic merit, not because the people said “if we don’t do this, we’re racists”.

      • Perhaps I should phrase this another way.

        Do you really believe that cities of the region and period fit into two mutually exclusive categories:
        1. Cities who blamed minorities for the weather, and by implication of the author, did not build communal granaries.
        2. Cities who did not blame minorities and also built communal granaries.

        Or do you believe the author used language that would be interpreted this way by somebody with a reasonable level of reading comprehension?

      • all i see in the article is the same fear mongering or money scraping CO2 line “with the current CO2 increase,…. (fill in any catastrophic line)”

        it’s a European article so you need to know this fact about europe

        CAGW as a political tool already left the left-right paradigm a loooong time ago in europe it did so for 20 years. so in europe there is basicly no political party without any climate related topics. even the most conservative party has some CAGW based programs. It’s actually only in the USA that it is that tightly wrapped with that socialist – liberalist paradigm

        so extrapolating a European article into the political context of the USA is going entirely out of it’s context.

        Espesially in the eyes of most european readers like me, now you know why i reacted that way.

        CAGW can easily slip out of that paradigm you know….

      • Frederik,

        it’s a European article so you need to know this fact about europe

        Espesially in the eyes of most european readers like me, now you know why i reacted that way.

        Your attempt to portray my world view as limited, fails…

        CAGW can easily slip out of that paradigm you know….

        If you don’t see the parallels between the MSM narrative in the U.S election and Brexit, then you are willfully blind and foolish. This is not an Ameri-centric issue, and the language I pointed out is being used with high frequency on both sides of the Atlantic to shame those who don’t agree with bigger government, globalism, identity politics, etc, etc.

      • “China, as it returns to world domination..”

        Say what, now? When – just give me a century – was China dominating the world? The Middle Kingdom never developed great sailors, or conquering armies; it was the Mongols who rode in from Asia, not the Chinese.

      • A number of Chinese dynasties compared favorably with their Western contemporaries. Estimates of the population of the Roman Empire at its height vary from 55 to 100 million, but the Han (206 BC to AD 220) was on the scale of its contemporary, late Republican to middle Imperial Rome.

        https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Comparison_between_Roman_and_Han_Empires

        Population of the Han in AD 2 is estimated at ~58 million. The best estimate of early Roman Empire population is ~57 million in 25 BC.

        At other periods, China and maybe India were united in polities larger and more advanced than Europe at the same time. Some Chinese empires have stretched from Vietnam and Tibet to Manchuria and Mongolia and into central Asia. Dunno if this equates to world domination or not.

        In AD 751, the Abbasid Caliphate and its ally the Tibetan Empire fought Tang Dynasty troops at the Talas River in central Asia:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Talas

        And, as is well known, the Ming Dynasty sent a great fleet to East Africa and back in the early 15th century, about the same time that Portugal was working its way down the Atlantic coast of Africa and reaching the Azores.

    • You should be ashamed for doubting that deep cold changes would be somehow unrelated to runaway global warming… /sarc off

    • Ding Ding Ding!

      We have a new term to use now “Anthropogenic Climate Interference” not to be confused with:
      Anthropogenic Global Warming
      Anthropogenic Climate Change
      Anthropogenic Climate Disruption

      As with all of the previous terms since Global Warming was put to bed, they can claim that anything that happens to the climate is “man caused”. However, has anyone else noticed that the terms are getting less and less forceful?

      Change: to make radically different
      Disrupt: to interrupt the normal course
      Interfere: to act reciprocally so as to augment, diminish, or otherwise affect

      • I agree that man “interferes with natural climate change” but climate is going to change anyway, as local “interferences” over land have no apparent effect on ocean surface temperatures as the big gears of the oceans turn the little gears of atmosphere.

      • Eric, how many times does this sort of zombie myth need to be debunked?
        “They” never changed anything. That’s just a story that confirms your bias. Look stuff up first.

      • Tony

        I look “stuff” up all the time, thank you. What “myth” are you talking about? The climatists have used all of the terms I listed and in that specific order as well.

      • Ahhh! Eric H, well said Sir. I was going to raise the point regarding the opinionated statement:

        “It also shows that, to avoid similar or even larger crises to that of the 1430s, societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.”,

        My feeling is that this statement could also be interpreted to imply the nonsensical attempts made of reducing the non-problem of CO2, those impoverishing financial and de-industrialising ‘methods’ used in the futile, politically motivated eco-Marxist endeavour that should indeed be described as,

        ‘dangerous … interference’.

      • How is Australia this time of year…?
        Warming up. Getting into the 30s (90s) and humid where I am. Warm enough.

    • I suppose massive government spending in the exact wrong direction counts as anthropogenic interference by way of extreme lack of preparedness, debt, and misplaced agency priorities.

  2. Get out the long johns, looks like we got us a massive Siberian express targeting the US for next week.

  3. The fundamental lesson from this study is that, low and behold, very significant climate change, including much colder weather, can occur over very large areas not caused by increased or decreased CO2 levels. The later 17th C Mini Ice Age is an even better example. So why the hysterics and expenditure of £billions to reduce CO2 emissions?

    • “So why all the hysterics and expenditure of £billions to reduce CO2 emissions?”

      Power. Pure power. Claims of anthropogenic climate control is the means to affect an end. An endstate where an elitist class has an unfettered path to the accumulation of power over people. A free people who consider themselves in possession of inalienable rights, so they must be duped with scaremongering climate propaganda to get them to submit to the elitists.

      Put nature at the center of climate, there is nothing to control. But convince people with propaganda that mankind with CO2 emissions is at the center, and a path to power and wealth becomes possible.

      The socialists began their climate crusade for power in late 1980’s. The more informed climate charlatans likely understood they had a 30-ish year window of opportunity to pull off their hustle as the mid70’s Ice Age scare memories faded from the public. Their window of opportunity is now closing, as reality comes home that natural variability and natural cycles controls Earth’s climate.

      • The socialists began their climate crusade for power in late 1980’s. The more informed climate charlatans likely understood they had a 30-ish year window of opportunity to pull off their hustle as the mid70’s Ice Age scare memories faded from the public. Their window of opportunity is now closing, as reality comes home that natural variability and natural cycles controls Earth’s climate.

        aaaah that’s why we see here in Belgium more and more climate related taxes last 2 years….

        oops 2 years ago the socialists were kicked out of our governement which is now right – liberal. Let’s do the math:
        – full stop of building plots in 2040
        – shutdown of the nuclear power plants replaced by green power in 2025
        – extra taxes on power
        – extra road tax
        – in 2040 all cars must be electric

        and more on the list.

        sorry this is not about socialism greens, or any political issue. this is about getting rich on the back of others.
        and any politician will find a way to do that. just a matter of throwing the right illusion in people’s eyes….
        climate is just one of those many illusions.

    • I suppose the term, ‘low and behold”, could be appropriate when discussing a cold climate. However, in the context of the sentence, the classic term ‘lo and behold’ is my preference!

  4. “It also shows that, to avoid similar or even larger crises to that of the 1430s, societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.”

    Without this (must be) final sentence and submission under the ruling orthodox AGW ideology, the authors would risk their further professional career…

  5. The extreme cold of the 1430s caused them to invent the SUV so that they could cause global warming.

  6. The moral of the story is spend communal resources on mitigation technology to survive natural variations. That sounds sensible.

    • Yeah…let’s call it Climate Preparedness.
      Or better yet we could just call it planning for the future. In either case do we plan for warmth or cold or both? Either way we will be wasting half our planning. ;-)

    • Brilliant idea. De-fund the UN, in particularly the foetid political edifice ECOSOC and use a fraction of the money to do just that. The rest could be used to pay down the US debt.

  7. Was this “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on the Moorish occupation of Spain? Hispania is Latin for land of rabbit eaters, an animal most definitely non-halal. So Moorish people adherant to Islam would have faced disadvantage in reliance on long supply chains.

    • Keith J December 1, 2016 at 8:11 am

      Interesting thought, Keith. Not sure about the long supply chains though. Spain had okay agriculture and there was the fishing in both the Med and the Atlantic. Also shipping from africa was a day away and most of the Moorish holding that remained at the this point were in the south with in easy reach of Noth Africa.
      Worth looking into though

      michael

    • Keith,

      That’s one of many proposed etymologies for Hispania, and probably not the currently most favored one. But in fact no one knows for sure whence came the name.

      By 1250, the Emirate of Granada was the last Muslim province in Spain. IMO it’s a bit of a stretch to attribute its final fall in 1492 to bad weather in the 1430s. The 1480s and ’90s do however fall within the Spoerer Minimum.

      Still, IMO other factors than climate led to the downfall of Granada. Among these was the 1469 union of the crowns of Castille and Aragon by the marriage of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. More unity among Christian realms might have doomed the last Moorish stronghold, anyway, but Granada gave the united kingdoms all the excuse they needed to wage war by attacking the border town of Zahara in December 1481. This led to a protracted conflict, 1482-92, and final defeat.

      Protected by the Sierra Nevada range, Granada was quite secure and prosperous until the 15th century, when Portugal opened up direct trade routes to Subsaharan Africa by sea. It then declined in importance as a regional commercial center. But in the 13th and 14th centuries it had been tightly integrated into Mediterranean trade networks, heavily financed by Genoese bankers intent on controlling the gold trade carried to Grenada via Saharan caravan routes.

      • Chimp December 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

        Did not think it was logistics

        Lots of stuff happening in a short space of time.

        michael

      • Very correct Chimp. The Granada Emirate had over 200 years of entrenchment and defensive building while Castile had dynastic troubles and weak kings. Granada only had frontiers with Castile and so it was Castile’s problem, not Aragon. Every king of Castile had wanted to end the moorish occupation and important battles were won, and Gibraltar was recovered in 1462. With the ascent of Isabel in 1475 Castile had a strong monarch after a long time. She had to deal with a civil war against supporters of her half-sister Juana that had Portuguese and French help. Once she cleared that up she had to deal with the troublesome high nobility that had opposed her. Only then she fixated on the Granada problem. But Granada was a very tough nut to crack and required years of preparations, money raising and gaining both nobility and popular support for a very long protracted war. While preparations were under way, the Christian response to a Muslim raid in Zahara where the entire population was enslaved, was the surprise occupation of the important position of Alhama by the Marquis of Cádiz. All this with a truce in effect. The orders from the Crown to the Marquis were to resist at all cost and 4 months later reinforcements were sent to end the Muslim siege. Castile was ill-prepared for such war and thus took her 10 years to overcome the Muslim encroachment with the first use of artillery in Spain.

        Climate had little to do with the end of the Muslim occupation in Spain. But it might have had to do with the start of the Muslim occupation, that took place in 711 AD, at the end of the migration period that happened during the Roman solar minimum, a period of difficult climate, and when the population of Spain had significantly declined from the Roman times.

      • Javier,

        Good summary. Like their Visigothic ancestors, the (often blond or red-headed, ie “rubia”) Trastamara dynasty (from 1369) and its predecessors in the Castilian crown, was plagued by internecine feuds. The English crown got involved, in the form of John of Gaunt (whose second wife had a claim on the Castilian throne), son of warlike Edward III of Crecy fame, and John’s elder brother Edward, the Black Prince (of Wales).

        King Edward’s daughter Joan was betrothed to Pedro the Cruel, last monarch of the main line of the House of Ivrea, but she died en route from the Black Death. Her brother the Black Prince caught whatever eventually killed him while fighting in Spain, after his great victory over France at Poitiers (1356) in the HYW. His early death saddled England with his young son Richard II, eventually overthrown by his (Richard’s) cousin Henry IV, father of famous warrior king Henry V, victor at Agincourt (1415).

        In the War of the Two Peters, Pedro fought Aragon, 1356-66, then waged the Castilian Civil War against his half-brother Henry the Bastard (of Trastamara). The connection with England continued long afterwards, to include Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, sister of Juana la Loca (mother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) and wife of two Tudors, Prince Arthur and King Henry VIII.

      • PS: Gotta love 14th and 15th century royal names, eg Peter the Cruel, Henry the Bastard, Joan the Mad and the Black Prince. The French had some good ones, too.

      • Although the 16th century wasn’t a slouch, either, with Ivan the Terrible (1530-84), whose appellation doesn’t signify quite what’s usually meant in English.

        Anyway, the climate was terrible during the LIA. Much better today. Hope it gets as balmy as the Medieval Warm Period and stays that way as long.

  8. “As a consequence, we are affected by climate extremes in a different way – cold extremes are less cold, hot extremes are even hotter.”

    … Until there are record lows somewhere and they have to evoke deus ex machina explanations like polar vortexes and still make some mental contortionism to fit that into the global warming narrative.

  9. {S}ocieties today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.

    This is as true as:

    Societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerously interfering with the Sun.

  10. shows the need to prepare for extreme climate conditions…

    Why do all of these people have to sound like drag queens on speed?

  11. The climate simulations ran by Keller and her team showed that, while there were some volcanic eruptions and changes in solar activity around that time, these could not explain the climate pattern of the 1430s. The climate models showed instead that these conditions were due to natural variations in the climate system, a combination of natural factors that occurred by chance and meant Europe had very cold winters and normal to warm summers.

    Amazing how much faith they put on their models.

  12. “It also shows that, to avoid similar or even larger crises to that of the 1430s, societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.”
    =======================
    Nonsense. Complete BS. Nowhere does their study support this conclusion. Nowhere did the authors.present any evidence that past climate was affected by “anthropogenic climate interference”. Rather, they found that significant climate change occurs without any “anthropogenic climate interference”.

    In point of fact, what the authors did state was:”they should take precautions to make themselves less vulnerable to them”. In other words, take steps to deal with climate change, as history shows the climate can change regardless of “anthropogenic climate interference”.

    In other words, since climate can change naturally, trying to “interfere” with climate is a fools errand. Rather, the best strategy is to adapt to change.

  13. “Compared to the 15th century we live in a distinctly warmer world. As a consequence, we are affected by climate extremes in a different way – cold extremes are less cold, hot extremes are even hotter.”

    I would like to see them prove that statement above.

    We aren’t even hotter than the 1930’s right now, so how are our hot extremes today “even hotter”? “Even hotter” than what?

    This is balmy weather we are living in today as compared to the 1930’s. “Even hotter” does not apply to today.

    I think this group of climate historians should study the 1930’s for a while. They might learn something important.

  14. The 1430s fell between the Wolf and Spoerer Minima, but solar activity dropped off again steeply after recovery from the the Wolf, c. AD 1350. By 1430-40, radioisotopes show that the sun was already less active than during the Wolf, but still headed down to the trough of the Spoerer, which commenced about 1460.

  15. Cold decades use to happen more often in the low countries. In the Netherlands the years 1940, 1041, 1942 and 1947 showed four of the ten coldest winters since 1900. They were 6-8 degrees Celsius colder than the recent warm 2016 and 2014 winters. http://www.knmi.nl/nederland-nu/klimatologie/lijsten/seizoensextremen/winter And they were the start of a colder period that lasted till the seventies.

    What Western Europe needs for a real cold winter is a ‘high pressure’ area on the Scandinavian. The cold eastern wind from the North of Russia will bring the cold to Eastern Europe and to the low countries more to the West.

    Southwestern winds from the ocean like in 2016 and 2014 bring the low lands warm winter weather. It is a matter of circulation. So far, this October and November the warm winds went straight to the Arctic. We know the results for the Arctic. And in the Netherlands, October and November 2016 showed temperatures one degree C below average.

  16. Just what do these geniuses think mankind has been doing. Better dwellings, better heating and cooling, better transportation to move food around, civil societies for mutual assistance and trade, refrigeration and drying to preserve food, modern medicine, improved agriculture – all of this is adaptation to a fickle climate. Reliable power is the key to overcoming the many lethal events that we face. CAGW threatens the very life-blood of modern society. The “snowflakes”, however, are probably most concerned about losing their cellphones.

  17. I guess it’s time again to post Dr. Sally Baliunas discussing the history of people’s reactions to extreme weather. For those who haven’t seen this short video:

    Ref Wikipedia:

    “By 1995, she (Baliunas) had entered the global warming controversy. In January of that year the Marshall Institute think tank published a review she had written for them, “Are Human Activities Causing Global Warming?” disputing the IPCC Second Assessment Report and arguing that “predictions of an anthropogenic global warming have been greatly exaggerated, and that the human contribution to global warming over the course of the 21st century will be less than one degree Celsius and probably only a few tenths of a degree.” She concluded with the view that “even if fears of anthropogenic global warming were realized – a concern which finds no support in the scientific data – there is no significant penalty for waiting at least two decades before taking corrective action to reduce global CO2 emissions.”[11] The work of Willie Soon and Baliunas, suggesting that solar variability is more strongly correlated with variations in air temperature than any other factor, even carbon dioxide levels, has been widely publicized by lobby groups including the Marshall Institute[12] and Tech Central Station,[13] and mentioned in the popular press.[14]”

    • Heretics like Soon and Baliunas were burned at the public stake by the Liberal dishonest media for their blasphemy.

    • Excellent, thank you, this edition of CAM the University of Cambridge alumni magazine has an account of Johannes Kepler’s successful six year defence of his mother against an accusation of witchcraft. [page 26 onwards]. Interesting that Kepler’s mother though not poor was illiterate.

      https://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/magazine/cam-78

      Cambridge as prone to fashionable delusions as the rest of us unfortunately including, infamously, communism of course (still a pretty enviable record on Nobel Prizes as well as Olympic Medals and even Oscars).

      • Katharina Kepler was however old and a widow (or at least abandoned by her husband, a mercenary probably killed in the Netherlands’ 80 Years War), hence vulnerable. She was 69 when accused by another woman, and 76 when finally acquitted, dying the next year (1622).

      • She seems to have had many accusers from the article in CAM. At her trial in 1620 21 local people testified including Leonberg’s schoolmaster who had been a school friend. Dorothea Klebl gave hearsay evidence that Frau Kepler had encouraged a young seamstress to become a witch promising “joy and debauchery beyond measure”.

  18. The early Sporer Minimum was possibly the cause of the cold decade. link It’s well known, I’m surprised the authors didn’t mention it.

    • Bob,

      As I commented above, 1430-39 was a little before the onset of the Spoerer as shown by 10Be and 14C isotopes (usually dated from 1460), but solar activity and temperatures were headed down from the post-Wolf Minimum peak.

      Thanks for your link showing that at least some researchers recognize an Early Spoerer from c. AD 1433.

      Later in the LIA, even after the Maunder Minimum, there were some notoriously cold years and decades, such as the terrible famine-producing Great Winter of 1740, but IMO 1708-09 still takes the cake, as an extreme weather event at the tail end of the Maunder. It had an impact on world history. Peter the Great might not have defeated Swedish King Charles XII at Poltava, Ukraine the following summer without the dire effects of the winter on his exposed troops, some of whom literally suffered their testicles freezing off. So General Winter was on the side of Russia even at that early date.

    • Bob,
      The link you provided was the early draft of the new paper, pre peer review and without the IPCC and AGW references which subsequently appeared in the final publication, its interesting to compare the conclusion section side by side. btw references to sporer minimum are in the text but removed from the published conclusion

      more smoke and mirrors

      • Yes, the solar suggestions were downplayed, so now it is a strange article with Spörer in the title but no solar variability content. Clearly the authors were not allowed to highlight their favorite explanation, which is unusual as generally authors are at liberty to discuss what they think is the cause of the results presented.

  19. They are just finding that out? I am certain that this has been brought up before. In fact, some one used a graph of the, let’s say, ” weather ” and the cost of wheat in Dutch Guilders. Now if only there was a blizzard in Saudi Arabia. As if that could happen. ( sarc, sarc, sarc )… you know, that cold was local and not world wide. When it snows is or unusually cold, that’s global warming. ( I’m going to make myself a snow camel )

  20. “As a consequence, we are affected by climate extremes in a different way – cold extremes are less cold, hot extremes are even hotter.”

    This is another of the non sequitur’s used by alarmists to support a case that doesn’t exist.

  21. Thank you J.Philip Peterson for the video link – I’m sending this to my history teaching colleagues in the hope it helps them when they are dealing with the topic of witchcraft crazes.

  22. As is so often the case, the Four Horsemen tend to ride together.

    During that decade, the Hundred Years War was in a hot phase. From the Siege of Orleans and the Battle of Patay (1429), the English started losing, and not just because of Joan. Their final defeat was in the southeast of France at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, although they held on to Calais until it too was lost under Bloody Mary Tudor.

    Also in that year befell the calamity of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. On the bright side, this disaster for civilization spurred exploration of other routes to the Indies, led to an exodus of Greek scholars from Byzantium to the West and about that time Gutenberg printed his first Bibles.

    During the Spoerer Minimum, England suffered the dynastic Wars of the Roses, 1455-85. The crucial, gigantic, bloody Battle of Towton was fought in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, 29 March 1461.

    The Italian Wars, 1494–1559, with the French Valois dynasty fighting the Hapsburgs of Spain and Austria for possession of parts of the peninsula, also occurred largely during the Spoerer. Financed by the silver and gold of the New World, the conflict was a disaster for all concerned.

    • The Italian Wars, 1494–1559, with the French Valois dynasty fighting the Hapsburgs of Spain and Austria for possession of parts of the peninsula, also occurred largely during the Spoerer. Financed by the silver and gold of the New World, the conflict was a disaster for all concerned.

      Depends of point of view. For Fernand Braudel after 1559 Italy under the hegemony of Spain entered a century and a half of Pax Hispanica, a peaceful period they had not known since Roman times. So for the Italian people it cannot be considered a disaster.

      Frankly I don’t think you can find a period without conflicts somewhere. This is related to human nature, not climate nature. Bad climate just worsens the consequences.

      • Agree about the consequences of bad climate. But IMO worsening climate, ie colder, also can lead to war, famine, pestilence and death not just by exposure to the worsened elements.

        As for the man-made disasters, I was thinking of the wars themselves, their participants and victims, not the consequences of Hapsburg victory. During the wars, firearms came to prominence (1503), the French king was captured (1525) and ransomed, virulent syphilis spread (1494 et seq) from Spain to Italy to France and beyond, death and destruction were visited on Italy, financial ruin threatened France and Spain, which suffered inflation from the influx of gold and silver, not to mention the effects of colonization on the Americas.

      • But IMO worsening climate, ie colder, also can lead to war, famine, pestilence and death not just by exposure to the worsened elements.

        It has been shown quite convincingly many times. But the drought has usually a much worse effect on crops and social upheaval that the drop in temperatures. The Peoples of the Sea that caused the Late Bronze collapse are a classic example. Droughts are believed to have been behind the Huns invasions too.

        During the wars, firearms came to prominence (1503), the French king was captured (1525) and ransomed, virulent syphilis spread (1494 et seq) from Spain to Italy to France and beyond, death and destruction were visited on Italy, financial ruin threatened France and Spain, which suffered inflation from the influx of gold and silver, not to mention the effects of colonization on the Americas.

        But the Italian wars of the first half of the 16th century are actually not a good example. The 30 year war is the perfect example. During the Italian wars the local population suffered very little if at all, because both contenders wanted to rule the land by keeping the locals happy. They were probably doing good business with both armies. We know at least the brothels did, because that is how syphilis spread from the Spanish sailors to the French soldiers in Naples. Casualties at the battles were somewhat high but far from unusual for the time. The French king suffered in his pride and as a result of his cravings strawberries were introduced in Spain from France. Neither the French, nor the Spaniards suffered from the wars. The French monarchy had financial troubles, but again they were having them all the time. Over-reaching kings were broke all the time.

        The 30-year war was a very different kind of conflict. As a civil war there was an intent on destroying physically the rival, and population massacres were common, as crop destruction and housing burning. An awful period that damaged the land and the population. The difficult climate could have acted at the same time as stimulus for aggression, upsetting the population (over ten thousand people were killed for witchcraft for cooking climate), and as worsening of the consequences.

      • Javier,

        For sure the 30 Years War was worse for the locals than the Italian Wars. But armies marching repeatedly over your land means your food gets eaten, your daughters raped, your goods stolen and crops trampled. No doubt some Italian city state citizens did prosper as a result of the wars, but there was also a lot of looting and destruction.

      • Chimp,

        I am not trying to demonstrate that the Italian wars of the first half of the 16th century were harmless floral games, but the evidence that they can be singled out from many similar conflicts as “the conflict was a disaster for all concerned” is simply lacking. The Italian City States were engaged in low level warfare almost continuously over the previous three centuries so the situation wasn’t radically different, just at a different scale.

        And a final point is that many historians believe that the political fragmentation and frequent warfare that took place in Europe from the Middle Ages is not coincidentally but causally related to the extraordinary cultural, technical, and scientific advance that took place simultaneously in that part of the world and that resulted in the posterior “discovery”, conquest, and colonization of the rest of the world by Europeans.

      • Javier,

        IMO large foreign armies marching up and down the peninsula produces more devastation than city state rivalries, destructive as some of those were, especially after companies of mercenaries unemployed by truces in the 100 Years War sought work in Italy.

        The wars after 1494 were different. They saw not just the slaughter of at least tens of thousands of soldiers, but the laying waste of much fine country. The wars affected almost everyone.

        http://theborgias.wikifoundry.com/page/The+Italian+WARS

        In the same year as the Sack of Rome (1527), two English envoys traveling through Lomardy reported that ‘the most goodly countree for corne and vynes that may be seen is so desolate that in all ways we sawe not oon man or woman in the fylde, nor yet creatour stirring but in great villaiges fyve or six myserable persons and in Pavia children crying in the street and dying of hunger’ (Barbara Tuchman).

      • PS:

        It wasn’t just the size of the invading armies, but their technology that made the Valois-Hapsburg wars over Italy so much more destructive than city state conflicts. Modern nation states were able to tax and spend on armed forces on a scale unimaginable for Milan or Florence, Siena or Pisa.

        The French had perfected field and siege artillery during the HYW. The power of gun powder came as a shock to Italians and Hapsburgs alike. Soon infantry firearms also dominated combat, with new formations and tactics.

        Contemporaneous historian Francesco Guicciardini wrote of the initial 1494 French onslaught:

        “Now owing to this invasion of the French everything was turned upside down in a sudden storm…sudden and violent wars broke out, ending with the conquest of a state in less time than it used to take to occupy a villa. The siege and taking of a city became extremely rapid and achieved not in month but in days and hours.”

        The Sack of Naples in 1495 was one such sudden descent.

        Eventually Spanish pike and shot tercios would defeat French heavy cavalry (gendarmes) combined with Swiss or German mercenary infantry, but not before Italy was, as I said, devastated. The end was near when France allied with the Ottoman Empire against Emperor Charles V, who abdicated in favor of his brother Ferdinand as HR Emperor and son Philip as King of Spain.

      • Ok, Chimp. You seem to know more of this than I do, so I won’t discuss it any more. The Italian Wars are placed between the Hundred Year War and the the Thirty Year War, and I don’t find them nearly as damaging as those two, but as my knowledge is not as profound as yours I will have to maintain that it is just my opinion.

  23. Whitby Abbey a good choice for the illustration, Count Dracula’s landing place of course with thoughts of blood sucking and magic.

  24. Funny how all of the really scary and dangerous climate stories are about the weather turning suddenly much colder.

    What about the list of civilizations wiped out by temperatures going up a couple of degrees? Oh right, they’re aren’t any.

  25. Don’t all these commenters remember that the utterly unquestioned Michael Mann made the Little Ice Age go away? All good people follow the blessed Mann and his hockey stick, from whom all funding flows./s

  26. Tambora 1815, and the year without summer. This cold time can be found in the lyrics of Muller and composition of Schubert. Die schoene Muellerin – Trockne Blumen — Der Mai ist kommen Der Winter ist aus.

  27. Since the authors can’t model the 1430s cold by what they know about volcanoes or sun, it is explained as “natural variation”. Meanwhile, modern models can’t trace the recent warming to volcanoes or sun, so some confidently state that the warming *must* be anthropogenic, as natural variation has been ruled out.

    As others have written, the authors’ conclusion that “to avoid similar or even larger crises to that of the 1430s, societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference” is nonsensical. The 1430s happened with no anthropogenic climate interference worth mentioning, and most certainly could happen in any year without any warning. The proper lesson was that *even if* you take measures to avoid “anthropogenic climate interference”, dramatic excursions from the average climate can and will happen, and societies need to be prepared to adapt to whatever nature gives them, whether that is cold or hot, wet or dry.

    It’s rather like having an article on historical damage from storm surges, and ending it with a genuflection on the importance of avoiding anthropogenic sea level rise.

  28. Societies at the time (except for the French) adapted by growing rye and barley in preference to cold-prone wheat. Urban granaries were better run and better protected against mould (US – “mold”) and vermin than farm based ones. I dispute that this particular cold period has not been studied. It certainly was at the time and since. The urban granaries did not operate the silly Roman Empire dole system – they were fully commercial.

  29. “… take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.”

    And there’s the money shot.

  30. Cold spells, cooling periods, and ice ages are all caused by global warming which is caused by Man’s burning of fossil fuels. This is how its has been for more than 500 million years. The adverse effects of Man’s use of fossil fuels is so bad that it has been projected back into time..

  31. It is really a shame that the writings of Plymouth Colony Gov. Bradford are not taught in school any more. The official story has the Pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America, and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620–21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

    The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

    The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hard-working or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

    In his History of Plymouth Plantation, the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years because they refused to work in the field. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

    In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

    But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

    What happened? After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

    This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take only what he needed.

    This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that were most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

    To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a markets, and that was the end of the famines.

    Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609–10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty. Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a relatively free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth.

    • Jamestown also benefited from the cultivation of tobacco as a cash crop, thanks to mild Spanish seeds stolen by my ancestor John Rolfe and successfully grown by my ancestress his second wife Rebecca, aka Matoaka “Pocahontas” Powhatan. The first shipload arrived in London in 1614, arguably the most important event in US if not world history from the 17th century. It meant that there would be a commercially viable colonial British North America, hence eventually USA.

      The US owes its existence to the early modern drug trade, ie tobacco and alcohol, in the form of rum from slave-produced sugar and whiskey from Indian corn (maize). With some cod and food crops.

      • The first three English colonies each had different beginnings and therefore had completely different outcomes. To trace the differences is worthy of time and analysis because there are enduring lessons in the first attempts to start societies in the New World. The principles at work are more important today for this generation than for any other.

        The three original colonies were:

        1. Roanoke
        2. Jamestown
        3. Plymouth

        Sir Walter Raleigh received the charter to begin a colony in North America. He brought over 107 men in the year 1585, but this colony quickly failed and was brought home 10 mos later by Francis Drake. It seems that Raleigh had a think about why the colony failed, and in his next attempt he brought men, women and children to Virginia. I cannot help but admire his insight here. And this adjustment by Raleigh also goes to the very heart of the matter: the colonies which included women and families were successful, while Jamestown, which was made up entirely of “gentlemen,” was an unmitigated disaster. (Though because of the Spanish Armada the Roanoke settlers are considered by historians to be the “lost colony,” I am among those who think that the Lumbee Indian tribe are the Old English-speaking descendents of the Roanoke colony, which is a kind of success.)

        It must be remembered that the Pilgrims were a group who did have safety in their hometown of Scrooby –provided that they would attend the Church of England. They were also safe in Holland, where they had freedom of worship — if they did not mind their children growing up speaking Dutch. So in a bold move they obtained a charter from the king and hired Miles Standish as their captain, and left for the New World. The Separatists were risking it all to be free and speak English.

        Jamestown, like Raleigh’s first colony, was a settlement comprised of all men. They were recruited by the London Company and their expectations were that they would become fabulously wealthy collecting gold nuggets on beaches. None of them had had a proper job or labored a day in their lives. They were not expecting to work and knew nothing about the Indians tribes. When Captain John Smith returned to Jamestown from his river explorations looking for a passage to the Pacific, he found that no work had been done that entire summer. He negotiated with the Indians for a winter supply of food, but set up a law that “if a man shall not work, he shall not eat.” He was resented and later had to return to England. Jamestown suffered extremely bad relations with the Indians, plagues, fires, cannibalism and near failure. Jamestown soon introduced slavery in the New World and its first cash crop was tobacco.

        My point is that in the same way we would not ignore the different variables in a scientific experiment, the differences in causes and ultimate effects between the three colonies should not be ignored. If life is a science, intentions, methods, and expectations lead to different results. Jamestown represents what would later become the economy of the south. Plymouth would become the symbol of the aspirations and economy of the north. Also, if living is a science, it is plain in these three experiments that conjugial love is the foundation for the better society.

    • The Plymouth colony had to pay the debt incurred for their passage. Several of the leaders, including William Bradford, assumed the debt and were able to allow the colony to proceed in family holdings.

      It has been noted by historians that the London Company was not exactly keeping a fair ledger. In one letter, William Bradford is informed that an entire ship load of furs was lost at sea.

      • I am sorry for the rough draft above. Sometimes you have to settle for a thumbnail sketch effort, without notes and without polishing, or it will not get done at all.

  32. “usually mild regions of southern France, northern and central Italy”

    Sorry, you misunderstood local climate! It may sound strange to many, since North Italy is on the same latitude of South France (but also of Romania), but NI winters are usually NOT mild. Indeed North Italy historical average winter temperatures are colder than places such Paris or London – but for the tiny, even if long, Liguria coastline (e.g. Genoa). Mediterranean climate actually does not include North Italy, not by winters (much colder and drier than in e.g. Rome) nor by summers (pretty warm, but much wetter). This does not mean, of course, that winter in Milan or Venice is like in Kiev or Stockholm; but it is anyway very different from Central (and South) Italy.

      • Venice is 0m (0ft) altitude LOL Venice airport (altitude 6m, 20ft) January average: -0.1/+6.6°C; inland areas have around 0.5°C to 1°C less. London Heathrow January average: +2.3/+8.1°C.

      • Well you did start by talking about NORTHERN Italian winters being colder than Paris or London. The only significant variable would be altitude.

      • nope Northern Italy is very mountainous alps to the north, and the Apeninnes running through it. That makes that the plains of the river Po and the genoa coast are prone to have cold winds and lots of precipitation.

        so it’s not altitude related but more topography/wind related

      • @Patrick, Venice IS North Italy – unless you consider it South Austria, for me would really be OK LOL
        North Italy is about 50% mountain ranges, mainly Alps. And 50% low-lying, flat plains, mainly along the Po river “valley” with altitude going from -2m (yes! in some subcoastal area) to 250m: so, really, altitude is not a parameter for winter temperatures comparing Venice (0m), Milan (120m), Bologna (50m), Turin (200m) to North France or England (just said Paris and London to get it easier). Moreover, North Italy hosts about 25million people, which >20million live in the plains, not in the mountains nor Ligurian coast (Genoa).

        @Frederick: true, but not all. Genoa has very mild climate for its position, but as you said, it can occasionally (few days a year) experience cold spell, with strong winds crossing Appennine passes from Po Valley plain. In the rest of the North, cold spells mainly come from Central (Eastern) Europe, across lower Julian Alps (e.g. Trieste). A significant part of cold weather, however, is due to thermal inversion layer, which can be very strong in Po Valley, as it is surrounded by 3 sides from mountains, and on the 4th side is just a small and shallow sea (more like a big, salty lake). Actually North Italy plains are maybe the “most foggy” place in Europe, between November and February, with fog often staying 24h a day.

  33. There is a glaring omission from this climatic study that nobody has been able to spot, even though it is reported in the literature. What sets the Spörer minimum epoch apart is the combination of being very cold and very dry. It was reported at the time that the seeds sowed in Autumn in the fields were being killed by the intense cold because there was no layer of insulating snow covering the fields as is usual. That led to the deep freezing of the soil killing the seeds.

    The drought was generalized in Central and Northern Europe. Despite being such a cold period there were no glacier advances reported in the Alps for lack of precipitations. Even sea ice appears affected, as precipitations tend to favor its formation by reducing surface salinity. This does not fit a solar signature as it is well demonstrated that grand solar minima increase precipitations in Central Europe. So something else was going on at the time besides the solar minimum and volcanic activity. Unless they can model the drought their model is useless to understand what happened. The intense winter cold was probably enhanced by lack of cloud cover giving it its record cold features.

    From:
    https://judithcurry.com/2016/09/20/impact-of-the-2400-yr-solar-cycle-on-climate-and-human-societies/

    • Informative. Thanks!

      If the drought were for just a decade, it would be a weather event. But if the whole Spoerer Minimum were like that, then it was a climatic phenomenon.

  34. Anything that disrupts the normal relatively short swings of El Nino/La Nina (IE discharge versus recharge) conditions would echo through the globe in uneven patterns with both immediate results and lags. Why there? The most important part of the ocean for the purposes of discharge/recharge would be that band that sits perpendicular to solar incidence, not the ocean bands that sit at angles to solar incidence. The equatorial band is that band. So look there for issues. Unfortunately, the ethereal nature of past ocean temperatures is hard to come by. That said, there are records of pulses of volcanic dust determined to originate within the equatorial band that was thick enough to obscure Solar irradiance, thus impacting the ENSO process. And anything that affects that, may echo through the century, bouncing around the globe from one place to another as currents spread the effects here, then there, then elsewhere.

    • Stadtluft macht frei! (City air makes free!) After a year and a day in town on the lam from the farm.

      Serfdom was already on its way out in England by 1430. The Black Death of 1348, et seq, had made survivors’ labor more valuable. Failure of landowners to pay what farm work was then worth led to increasing unrest and uprisings by serfs and peasants, like Tyler’s Rebellion in 1381. The proto-Protestant Lollards can also be seen in an economic light.

      These revolts put pressure on gentry, nobility and clergy to reform the system. As a result, serf and peasant demands were accommodated to some extent by the gradual establishment of new forms of land leases and increased personal liberties. By the end of 15th century, this aspect of the feudal system was largely if not completely gone in England.

  35. It was all caused by global waming caused by Man’s use of fossil fuels. All climate change since the beginning of time on Earth has been caused by Man’s use of fossil fuels. If Man stops using fossil fuels, global warming and with it climate change will stop for all time. They would have us believe.

  36. And the connection of the cold winters of the 1430s in the Benelux countries to the ruins of Whitby Abbey in Yorkshire is ???

    • Maybe because it’s across the North Sea from the Low Countries, so subject to similar climatic influences.

  37. Of course it ends with the obligatory climate cultism, “societies today need to take measures to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate interference.” Hilarious. Were people in the MWP suffering from nice weather and bumper crops?

    • Hilarious. Were people in the MWP suffering from nice weather and bumper crops?

      No – for a good bit of the time they were suffering harsh winter frosts and famines. Here’s just a small selection of examples from around the time of peak MWP.

      Winter of 1124 / 1125 A.D. In 1124, the frozen Rhine River in Germany was crossed by pedestrians.62 This winter of 1124-25 was harsher than usual, because of the accumulation of snow that fell incessantly. A significant number of children and even women died from the extreme cold. In ponds, the fish were trapped under the ice. The ice was so thick and firm that loaded wagons and the horses traveled on the Rhine River as on the mainland. A strange incident occurred Brabant: Countless numbers of eels were driven by the cold from the swamps and found refuge in barns, where they sought to hide; but the cold was so great that they died from lack of food and rotted. The cattle died in many areas. The bad weather was prolonged so that only in May did trees begin to bud and the grain and other cultivated plants begin to grow.62 The [grape] vine and fruit trees in France were killed [by the extreme cold]. 58, 80 In 1125 in France, the winter had cold more severe than usual, and was accompanied by a large amount of snow. Alternating snows, rains and frozen juice [freezing rain/sleet] continued until March. Then continual rains destroyed all the seeds.79 During the winter, far greater and more frequent snows than ordinary fell whereby many poor people’s children were killed, as were the fishes in ponds, even eels themselves. After this followed a great plague on man and beast, and great intemperature of air, even till March. From the variety of weather, snow, rain, hail, frost, etc. came great damage. The spring came on slowly from cold nights, and daily heavy stormy showers. All seeds were drowned. Hence a plague in France. 72 During the winter of 1124-25 in France, the thick ice on the rivers could carry loaded wagons. Many children and women died from the cold. Alternating thaws, rains and snows gave way to very severe cold

      The frost in England was very severe.47, 93 The year 1128 had the most terrible hard winter [in England]. In Easter fell much snow.72

      Winter of 1132 / 1133 A.D. During the winter the cold was so intense in Italy, that the Po River was frozen from Cremona to the Adriatic Sea. The wine froze and burst the casks, and the trees split with a great noise.1 In 1133, the Po River in Italy froze.58, 80 The Po River in Italy was frozen from Cremona to the sea.38 In 1133, the Rhône River in France froze.58, 80 During the winter of 1133 the Rhône River in southern France froze as well as the wine cellars froze.79

      Winter of 1149 / 1150 A.D. The winter was severe in December 1149. The River Thames in England froze.28 In England, the winter of 1150 was remarkable for a severe frost, which commenced on the ninth of December, and continued till the beginning of March, during a great part of which time, the River Thames was frozen so hard as to allow carts and other carriages to pass over the ice.29 The frost in England continued from the 10th of December to the 19th of February.47, 93 From 10 December 1149 to 19 February 1150, there was a very hard frost in England. The River Thames was so frozen that men went over [the ice] on foot and horseback. A terrible whirlwind, which broke down many houses, tore up trees by the root [tornado]. The earth was very barren.72 In 1149, the sea was frozen off the coast of Holland. 62 In the year 1149, the winter was more severe in Flanders than usual and lasted from early December to March. The sea was completely frozen and passable from a distance of more than three miles from the coast. The frozen waves appeared in the distance like towers. In Tournai, Belgium, there was great shortage of food. 62

      The winter of 1150 in northern France was no less rigorous and continued for three months. Several people had their limbs frozen. This winter did not allow the spring farm work.79

      1154 A.D. There was a great frost in England. 47, 93 There was a general famine over all Europe and a great frost in England, thunder, lightning, rains, and a horrible tempest. Famines in Scotland with the plague.7

      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/weather1.pdf

      The Thames froze over for several weeks at a time on at least 8 occasions between 1050 and 1220. The Thames did freeze partly (not as far as central London) in 1963 but there have been no major freezes in the last 150 years

      • Of course some winters were worse than others during the Medieval Warm Period.

        The Rhine and Thames are not now as they were then. Factories and cities heat them. They are embanked. Their flow is controlled by dams.

        In the 20th century, the mighty the Columbia River used to freeze over at Portland, OR, but now doesn’t, even when it’s just as cold for just as long as it was when you could drive to Vancouver, WA across it.

      • Of course some winters were worse than others during the Medieval Warm Period.

        Yes I’m sure they were but they appear to have been more frequent during the glorious MWP than, say, now. For example

        1035 A.D. A frost on Midsummer Day, so vehement, that the grain and fruits were destroyed. 2, 40, 41,42, 43 A frost on Midsummer Day (21 June) struck England killing crops.28 – destroyed the fruits of the earth.90 A frost in England on Midsummer Day; all grass, grain and fruit destroyed; a dearth.47, 93

        and this

        995 A.D. The summer was very cold throughout Europe. Severe frost and ice in July 995 A.D.

        Severe frost and ice in July?? I can’t ever recall “frost and ice” in July.

      • John,

        You can’t? Where do you live? Here are some recent July and August frosts in Europe:

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-europe-weather-summer-idUKL0961090020070709?rpc=401&feedType=RSS

        http://notrickszone.com/2015/07/10/mid-july-frost-surprises-central-europe-this-morning/

        http://notrickszone.com/2016/08/12/surface-frost-strikes-germany-mid-august-temperatures-shatter-old-records/#sthash.ve24jO6U.dpbs

        Frosts in the Middle Ages were more devastating than now because agriculture, storage and transport were so less developed.

        Besides which, the Medieval WP was just getting going in AD 995, although soon thereafter, the frigid Labrador Current was free of ice enough for Leif Erikson to sail from Greenland to North America. Some restrict the MWP to AD 950 to 1250, but IMO it lasted well into the 14th century, despite bad weather in the early 1300s.

      • Lamb did find hard winters in the 1100s, however, IRRC, which century by any accounting was during the Medieval WP. Summers though were generally balmy.

      • Please see Table II:

        http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/others/lamb.ppp.1965.pdf

        Even with all its adjustments, the 50-year average in the CET for AD 1950-2000 didn’t reach the warmth of the balmiest three half-centuries, 1150-1300, in the middle of the MWP. I don’t know what the actual figure is, but looking at the Met’s graphs, it should be over 9.5, with below 9 in the 1960s and above 10 in the 1990s, for an average thus similar to 1100-50 and 1300-1400.

        800-1000 9.2 degrees C annual average T
        1000-1100 9.4
        1100-1150 9.6
        1150-1200 10.2
        1200-1250 10.1
        1250-1300 10.2
        1300-1350 9.8
        1350-1400 9.5
        1400-1450 9.1
        1450-1500 9.0
        1500-1550 9.3
        1550-1600 8.8
        1600-1650 8.8
        1650-1700 8.7
        1700-1750 9.24
        1750-1800 9.06
        1800-1850 9.12
        1850-1900 9.12
        1900-1950 9.41
        1950-2000 9.??

      • However, should the interval 2000-2050 equal peak warmth of the Medieval WP, it would not be a fair comparison, given the industrialized urban heat islands and watered, canaled, highwayed and mined rural areas of central England in the Modern WP. Since the Middle Ages, central England has been deforested and partially reforested.

      • John,

        And please consider that those frosts in July and August of 2015 and 2016 took place in the supposedly warmest years evah!

        Europe lies farther north than many Americans realize, and it doesn’t take much a shift in atmospheric circulation to bring Arctic weather down to the continent. London, Berlin and Prague all lie north of the 49th parallel, which composes most of the US-Canadian border. Paris is at 48.9 degrees N.

        Consider further that our present allegedly warm decade still probably hasn’t been as warm as those at the height of the Medieval WP. Nor, if the books weren’t cooked, would they probably be as balmy as the 1930s.

  38. Inexpensive abundant energy along with inexpensive abundant food is the only strategy for sustaining an advanced sophisticated civilization

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