Claim: 19th century U.S. immigrants were actually ‘climate refugees’

From the EUROPEAN GEOSCIENCES UNION and the “climate refugees” department comes this piece of work.

Climate changes triggered immigration to America in the 19th century

In the 19th century, over 5 million Germans moved to North America. It was not only a century of poverty, war and revolutions in what is now Germany, but also of variable climate. Starting at the tail end of the cold period known as the Little Ice Age, the century saw glacier advances in the Alps, and a number of chilly winters and cool summers, as well as other extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.

“Overall, we found that climate indirectly explains up to 20-30% of migration from Southwest Germany to North America in the 19th century,” says Rüdiger Glaser, a professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and lead-author of the Climate of the Past study.

The researchers could see a climate signature in most major migration waves from Southwest Germany during the 19th century. “The chain of effects is clearly visible: poor climate conditions lead to low crop yields, rising cereal prices and finally emigration,” says Glaser. “But it is only one piece of the puzzle.”

“Our results show that the influence of climate was marked differently during the different migration waves,” adds Iso Himmelsbach, another of the researchers at the University of Freiburg who took part in the study.

The team studied official migration statistics and population data from the 19th century, as well as weather data, harvest figures and cereal-price records. They focused on the region that is now the Baden-Württemberg state, where many of the migrants – such as Charles Pfizer of pharmaceutical fame – originated from. They started by identifying the major migration waves and then investigated to what extent climate played a role in driving people to North America during each of them.

This is a video summary of the EGU press release, ‘Climate changes triggered immigration to America in the 19th century’. It highlights the main points of the Climate of the Past study entitled ‘Climate of migration? How climate triggered migration from Southwest Germany into North America during the 19th century’.

The first wave followed the eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815. The volcanic ash and gases spewed into the atmosphere caused temperatures to drop around the world for a few years after the eruption. The ‘year without summer’, 1816, was wet and cold causing widespread crop failures, famine and emigration.

“Another peak-migration year, 1846, had an extremely hot and dry summer leading to bad harvests and high food prices,” says Annette Bösmeier, a researcher at the University of Freiburg who also involved in the study. “These two years of high migration numbers appear to be quite strongly influenced by climate changes, while for other migration waves other circumstances appeared to be more important,” she adds.

Climate was a less significant factor in driving the largest emigration wave, from 1850 to 1855, the researchers found. While unfavourable weather affected crops resulting in low harvests during this time, other factors also drove up food prices. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), for example, France banned food exports, putting pressure on the German grain markets. At the time, the authorities of Baden also paid the poorest people to leave the country in an attempt to prevent uprisings and save on welfare. This, too, drove up emigration numbers.

“Migration in the 19th century was a complex process influenced by multiple factors. Lack of economic perspectives, social pressure, population development, religious and political disputes, warfare, family ties and the promotion of emigration from different sides influenced people’s decision to leave their home country,” concludes Glaser. “Nevertheless, we see clearly that climate was a major factor.”

In the past few years, climate has taken a central stage in migration discussions since future climate change is expected to lead to mass migration (‘climate refugees’), as sea levels rise and extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and hurricanes, become more frequent. The team hope their study can shed some light on the various factors influencing migration and how important climate can be in triggering mass movements of people.



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November 21, 2017 9:29 am

Oh now they want to rewrite history to include a global warming narrative. If it’s bad and it happened in history global warming was responsible get the CAGW team on it.

Bryan A
Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 10:32 am

Global Cooling was also mentioned as a contributing factor. So I wouldn’t necessarily attribute migrations to Climate Warming as being a “Major Contributor” to the migration as heat is likely only around 10% of the factor involved at the time (and only truly applies to the year 1846).

It is far more likely that greater than 50% (the true “Major Contributor” to the migration) that the “Paying the poorest to leave the country” had the strongest and longest effect on migration.

With the current CO2 fertilization effect, today’s even warmer temperatures aren’t causing crop failures in the same area so it is apparent that while heat without increased CO2 may negatively affect plant growth, Heat + CO2 = bumper crops

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 11:38 am

Okay, so people in poor situations were paid in large numbers to leave.

That begs the question, “Why did the government feel compelled to encourage cheap labor to emigrate?”
It was after all almost 40 years prior to the earliest labor-reducing effects of mechanization during the birth of the industrial age. Farm crops were still brought in by manual labor. Textile mills, though early steam and power power accelerated production, still required large amounts of manual labor.

The deeper answer is again a cold climate limited crops and production. Timber harvests went to keep homes warm. There was not enough timber, crops, and production due to cold climate factors.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 11:49 am


I wonder if they also looked at the media of the moment. Doubtless plastered with the opportunity of the new world. Just like in the UK, when Andrew Carnegie emigrated from Scotland, the son of a weaver.

Say what? They didn’t?


And the evils of Capitalism were, of course, well illustrated by Andrew:

“Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is often identified as one of the richest people (and richest Americans) ever. He became a leading philanthropist in the United States, and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away about $350 million to charities, foundations, and universities—almost 90 percent of his fortune. His 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.”

Ooops, maybe not.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 1:19 pm

Same old chestnut about Tambora. Yes, it was cold in 1816 but it was also wet and cold prior to this and after this. Tambora other than for a few months, did not noticeably affect the climate.

There were warmer periods either side of this cold spell. But the extreme cold of 1812 and a certain generals retreat from moscow , several years before Tambora, may ring a few bells.


Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 1:44 pm

Europeans were encouraged to emigrate. US government and railroads wanted to sell their land in the Midwest and West to immigrants.

Chile wanted to encourage industrious German immigrants to replace Mapuche and other Indian groups in the south, so offered them land and even ox teams. Without them and British immigrants, Punta Arenas might have remained Sandy Point, a British coaling station. But the UK didn’t want Patagonia. It already had the Cape and Australia. Welsh did however settle in Argentine Patagonia. Most immigrants to Argentina of course were Italian.

Homicidal maniac, mass and serial murderer Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s paternal grandmother Lynch was descended from successful 18th century Irish immigrant to Rio de la Plata Patrick Lynch, who has lots of well known descendants in Argentina and Chile, not all of whom were psychotic killers, or even Communists.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 2:21 pm

climatereason November 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Besides being in the depths of the Little Ice Age and Solar Cycle 6, also called the Dalton Minimum, Europe was also just coming out of the catastrophic Napoleonic wars, when food scarcities were already greatly affecting the population of Europe.

Tambora was a huge stratovolcano, one of the largest to ever explode in modern history. There were several other volcanoes immediately prior to Tambora.

Other large volcanic eruptions (with VEIs at least 4) around this time were:
1809, The 1808/1809 mystery eruption (VEI 6) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean
1812, La Soufrière on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean
1812, Awu in the Sangihe Islands, Dutch East Indies
1813, Suwanosejima in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan
1814, Mayon in the Philippines

To dismiss Tambora in 1815, and the subsequent year without a summer in 1816, including crop failures world wide and hundreds of thousands of dead from famine and disease, was a game changer for the early 19th century regarding emigration from Europe. Just like the Laki volcanic fissure in southern Iceland erupting over an eight-month period from 8 June 1783 to February 1784, set the stage for the French Revolution. Ignore history and the horrific resulting global cooling at your own peril.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 3:23 pm


If you had read the article you would have seen the volcanoes listed together with many others through history back to the 1500’s

They have an impact for a season or two but that is highly dependent on the nature of them and their location and when they erupted.


Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 3:36 pm

Germans were encouraged to emigrate to various places. For instance to the Nelson area in New Zealand, where a number of shiploads settled in the early 1850’s. In terms of my own family, oral tradition maintains that had they remained the men would have had to serve in the armed forces. The alternative was to emigrate under the sponsorship of Count Rantzau. Thus emigration has precisely nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with freedom and opportunity.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 4:41 pm

‘railroads’ – may be in 1846, or so.
The first public railway in the world – the Surrey Iron Railway – is dated 1807.
Those wagons were horse-drawn.
Steam-power came later – 1829 for Stephenson’s Rocket, if I remember correctly, when it won the Rainhill Trials.


Reply to  Bryan A
November 21, 2017 9:12 pm

Auto November 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

When transcontinental RRs were built in the second half of the 19th century, they received federal land grants of whole townships (36 sq mi) along the rights of way, which they proceeded to sell. By that time, many of the immigrants were Eastern European rather than German.

So, granted, the RR land sales were after the Crimean War immigration cited in the paper.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Bryan A
November 22, 2017 5:31 am

Gabro – November 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm

When transcontinental RRs were built in the second half of the 19th century, they received federal land grants of whole townships (36 sq mi) along the rights of way, which they proceeded to sell.

The RR’s not only sold that property cheap, …… they staged a massive “advertising” campaign in Europe for immigrants to come to America and settle on or near those RR’s right-of-way.

The RRs needed those immigrants to farm the land and produce goods and order supplies …… in order to be profitable, …… pay for support and maintenance of the RRs.

Tom Billings
Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 2:52 pm

Actually, using a climate narrative need not focus on Germany. The British immigration to the US peaked only 2 years after 1828, when you could stand on Cape Wrath, and watch a thin white line across the northern horizon. That was Pack Ice that stretched to the pole. It is no oddity that people, faced with the alternatives of emigrate, industrialize, or starve, in the event, did all 3.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Tom Billings
November 21, 2017 5:24 pm

What about the Irish potato famine that brought many thousand to the US? Wasn’t that really all about the region’s “current” climate? Warmists would have had a great opportunity to blame the moist, windy conditions on climate change that was fostering the blight,

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Tom Billings
November 21, 2017 5:54 pm

Yikes, sorry Tom Halla, I should have read on before inserting that. Late to the forum as usual.

Reply to  Tom Billings
November 21, 2017 6:07 pm

The potato blight wasn’t caused by “climate change”, but by the introduction of a new parasite into Ireland, where the potato crop was always subject to the vagaries of weather and other parasites.

The parasite belongs to Class Oomycota (“water moulds”), a strange group of eukaryotic organisms, more closely related to plants than to fungi, but like the latter, heterotrophic rather than autotrophic, as are plants. It probably originated in Mexico as a parasite of tomatoes rather than in the Andes as a pathogen of potatoes.

Reply to  Tom Billings
November 21, 2017 6:49 pm

If you believe the Irish the famine was caused mostly by the English landlords’ intentionally starving the Irish underlings. There’s some truth to this. But regardless of the underlying reasons the Irish emigrated in huge numbers, when, to their benefit, America welcomed immigrants by the millions. We needed them to fuel our expansion. We still need them to fuel further growth. Some people feel differently, I’m told.

Tom Halla
Reply to  scraft1
November 21, 2017 6:59 pm

The English basically scanted on famine relief if Ireland relative to England, not that submarginal farm labor wasn’t treated rather badly no matter where. Politics and prejudice played a role that cannot be separated from everything else that was going on then.

Reply to  Tom Billings
November 22, 2017 6:43 pm

On the case of Ireland, the landlords wanted their leased land for sheep. More money in wool and meat than leasing small parcels of land. People were given passage money to North America.

Reply to  Tom Billings
November 22, 2017 9:06 pm

After the Napoleonic wars, there was a surplus of men/ veterans in Ireland without work. Some of them accepted the offer of free passage. Have seen these records.

I have also seen some of the Irish estate records as well which have the amounts paid for passage to North America. Passage money paid for whole families to emigrate from Ireland was recorded. This is also known as “The Clearances”.

Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 5:59 pm

… but where does CO2 fit into their new narrative?

Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2017 2:26 pm

No doubt they’ll next be claiming that the flood which, according to the Bible, wiped out all life on earth except for those saved in Noah’s Ark was an extreme weather event caused by global warming.

November 21, 2017 9:30 am

Real science and facts don’t matter to the Climate Alarmists: They make up “facts” to fit the political agenda.
Scientific Fascism; How to Manufacture a Consensus

Reply to  co2islife
November 21, 2017 12:43 pm

Isn’t it quite amazing to see just how versatile dogma can be with the will to make it stretch, flex and vibrate?

Tom Halla
November 21, 2017 9:39 am

Immigration then, as now, is so confounded with political issues as to be difficult to assign to any one cause. A clearer case of climate affecting immigration was the Irish Potato Famine, crop failure associated with bad weather. But in that case, land use caused by the English landlords greatly exacerbated the problem. The attitude of the English towards the Irish was parodied earlier by Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal”. The famine, and the subsequent mass emigration, was a result of overpopulation, plant disease, weather affecting the plant disease, and English indifference bordering on malice. One can make a case for any of those being the major cause.

Tom O
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 21, 2017 10:40 am

But if you go into it with eyes wide shut, you see only what is tattooed on the inside of your eye lids. I can clearly see “a climate change fingerprint all over it” would be the inevitable response by those that are looking for something, anything, to hang a climate change signal on. The more “scientific research” I see under the guise of “climate science,” the more I question any and all science research, such as batteries that can have a 20Kwhr capacity completely recharging in 1 minute, or a truck hauling a 40,000 pound load going 500 miles on a battery charge at 60 mph and recharging in a few hours of sleep time from rechargers that are just everywhere. Everything is turning into male bovine droppings everywhere I look.

Scott Scarborough
November 21, 2017 9:42 am

Seems that this works against the recent claims of alarm. If it happened a hundred and fifty years ago it is less likely due to us.

M Courtney
Reply to  Scott Scarborough
November 21, 2017 1:22 pm

Actually it was manmade. Well, a result of social and economic factors.
The mass migration to the New World in the 19th century was unique. It filled a continent.

-But the climate has always changed.
-Germany suffered more in the 30 Years War than in the century between Napoleon and the Kaiser. Yet people still went.
-Famines were actually mitigated by improved transport of goods via canal and then railways.

So what was unique?
Industrialisation and consequent urbanisation.
If people are moving anyway they may as well move far and gamble.

Bill Powers
November 21, 2017 9:44 am

Seems to me that within the narrative that the world is warming catastrophically and it is all man’s fault for excessively burning fossil fuel accelerating atmospheric CO2 levels up to 400 parts per million and climbing, per ALGORE, then this migration took place before said catalyst occurred. Hence the climate changes naturally and man being a migratory beast will naturally travel to more conformable surroundings insomuch as water seeks it’s own level and this whole dialogue is much ado about nothing.
The world will end when the world ends so enjoy the ride while you can. Stay comfortable my friends.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Bill Powers
November 21, 2017 11:30 am

Ahhhhh, but they have their models that project to 2100 (and some beyond that).

It is in their tuned-model for purpose junk outputs on which they pin their plans for power and wealth accumulation. Shows their climate models are hopelessly flawed and their big plans collapse.

Paul of Alexandria
November 21, 2017 9:47 am

Well, bad weather and crop failures certainly played a part, witness the Irish Potato famine. Wars and politics played an important part also. My own ancestors bugged out of Germany to escape the various conflicts going on in the 1800’s.

November 21, 2017 9:51 am

I might have to actually read this study. Because while the press release is clearly flogging the “…climate refugees…” aspect, the words quoted in this article clearly indicate that only 2 of the waves of migration appear to result from climate, in some manner, and even for those waves that was only one of many factors that contributed to the surge of emigration. Secondly, for the CAGW crowd, this study if anything undermines their argument, since all this scurrying about took place BEFORE anthropogenic CO2 emissions were enough to have a significant impact (according to the warmunist argument, anyway, I still don’t think man-kind emits enough CO2 to have a significant impact on climate change), and yet climate caused them to migrate anyway. In other words, so what if there really are climate refugees today, there always were. Same as it ever was!

Tom Halla
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
November 21, 2017 10:00 am

The study also undermines the unspoken assumption by the greens that warming is somehow bad. This was the end of the Little Ice Age, after all.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
November 21, 2017 10:26 am

It may well be that this is a serious study about immigration, and that they inserted the required litany about climate change in order to get funding and publication. After all, if “Paris was well worth a mass” already in the 16th century, how much more must it be worth today, with infinite resources from the crises-ridden governments that created the Paris accord?

Curious George
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
November 21, 2017 10:39 am

All Americans except Native Americans and imported slaves are climate refugees. I wonder if Hawaiians are also climate refugees? And the fall of Roman Empire was caused by climate refugees.

Reply to  Curious George
November 21, 2017 2:55 pm

Anyone born in America is a native American.

American Indians were also arguably climate refugees. They left Beringia as soon as they could, for the warmer climes south of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet.

Hot under the collar
November 21, 2017 9:52 am

“Starting at the tail end of the cold period known as the Little Ice Age, the century saw glacier advances in the Alps, and a number of chilly winters and cool summers, as well as other extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.”
“The chain of effects is clearly visible: poor climate conditions lead to low crop yields, rising cereal prices and finally emigration,”

Thank goodness a warmer climate reversed the low crop yields and extreme weather events!

November 21, 2017 9:52 am

Only one comment. COLD SUCKS.

Reply to  zaphodbeeb
November 21, 2017 4:49 pm

+ Lots.
Cold does indeed SUCK!
A bit warmer, please!


Pop Piasa
Reply to  zaphodbeeb
November 21, 2017 6:10 pm

If it didn’t the Bering sea would be more popular than the Caribbean for vacationers.

November 21, 2017 9:54 am

Even if this is true, doesn’t in mean that “climate change”, i.e. bad weather, is nothing new?

November 21, 2017 10:09 am

Wot about the potato eelworm nematode? Was that climate induced I wonder? Their last paragraph got this printed and will source further grant money.

Joel O'Bryan
November 21, 2017 10:09 am

Simply the effects of a Little Ice Age before fossil fuels saved Europe from further decline. The two WW’s were the final convulsions from the lasting societal effects of a cold climate imprinted on desperate populations..

And today Germany is ill prepared for the next cold phase with its disastrous EnegieWende folly. And in this German energy vulnerability Putin sees long-term Russian strategic successes for re-imposing its hegemony on Central Europe.* Poland and Hungary are the two central European countries with leadership who also clearly see this threat from a energy-rich Russia. Energy is being used as a strategic weapon. Today, Energy has been weaponized and the UNFCCC and the IPCC are major weapon systems in a part of that larger strategy as the Paris Agreement impose nothing on Moscow (or Beijing for that matter). And they make for great propaganda against an ignorant-of-the-propaganda Western public for Russia to exploit, with willing participation from Soros and Steyer funded NGOs.

*US shale gas LNG exports to Europe are going to be key to fighting Russia on this energy battleground.

Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2017 10:09 am

Simply the effects of a Little Ice Age before fossil fuels saved Europe from further decline. The two WW’s were the final convulsions from the lasting societal effects of a cold climate imprinted on desperate populations..

And today Germany is ill prepared for the next cold phase with its disastrous EnegieWende folly. And in this German energy vulnerability Putin sees long-term Russian strategic successes for re-imposing its hegemony on Central Europe.* Poland and Hungary are the two central European countries with leadership who also clearly see this threat from a energy-rich Russia. Energy is being used as a strategic weapon. Today, Energy has been weaponized and the UNFCCC and the IPCC are major weapon systems in a part of that larger strategy as the Paris Agreement impose nothing on Moscow (or Beijing for that matter). And they make for great propaganda against an ignorant-of-the-propaganda Western public for Russia to exploit, with willing participation from Soros and Steyer funded NGOs.

*US shale gas LNG exports to Europe are going to be key to fighting Russia on this energy battleground.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2017 10:24 am

Two instances of strategic weaponized fossil fuel energy in the 20th Century are 1) the OPEC oil embargo of 1973, and 2) the US oil embargo against Japan’s imperialistic invasions in SE Asia, which further led Japan to directly atack the US military installations throughout the Pacific.

Henning Nielsen
November 21, 2017 10:12 am

Oh the poor climate refugees, escaping from awful climate changes in Germany in the 19th century, and what did they find in their new country of constant, clement weather with no floods or storms (in their dreams)?

Galveston, Texas, 1900.

But that, of course, was just “weather”, though rather inclement. And Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 to escape the horrible heat in France.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Henning Nielsen
November 21, 2017 10:41 am

You should visit Fredricksburg, Texas during its OktoberFest celebrations. They put a real Texas-twist on an old German tradition. And with good beer and barbecue, and brats and sauerkraut. Ledershosen meets cowboy boots.

Tens of thousands of Germans relocated to south-central Texas and found good land and economic opportunity as they escaped the political and economic turmoil of their homeland.

Cold climate shifts certainly bring upheaval. Warm climate shifts allow economic growth and prosperity to widen. Today’s Climate Change belief is simply political manipulation.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2017 7:05 pm

Don’t forget Dos Equis is a German brew.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2017 7:38 pm

And made in breweries owned by Heineken subsidiary Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Gabro
November 21, 2017 7:54 pm

And there is a really strong South German/Austrian/central European element in northern Mexican music.

November 21, 2017 10:12 am

So, before we changed the climate, which supposedly began around 1950, the climate was variable? Good news. Up until now we were told that the climate before 1950 was perfectly steady and the proof that we were at fault was the fact that now it was changing.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  astonerii
November 21, 2017 10:15 am

The wonderful new climate models will adjust low temperatures up, and high temperatures down, so that in the future, there will be no climate changes at all. It only takes a little bit of money.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Henning Nielsen
November 21, 2017 10:29 am

The money only comes from alarmism. A population that is not scared is impossible for a government to control.

The realization that Earth is entering a Modern Climatic Optimum, similar to the Roman Warm Phase 2000 years ago, will be deeply resisted by the bureaucrats and elites seeking more power and money.

Bruce Ploetz
Reply to  astonerii
November 21, 2017 12:11 pm

A very important point, astonerii, that often gets obscured by hand waving in the alarmist camp. Somehow they are allowed to say “Warming since the Industrial Revolution” when they should only be allowed to say “Warming since the end of the Little Ice Age”. Mention of the Industrial Revolution falsely implies a human cause for the natural warming up to 1950.

The “97% consensus” approved, IPCC sanctioned statement about human caused warming only applies after 1950. That is when the Keeling curve starts to bend upwards from 270 ppm. Climate refugees in the 1800s cannot be from human-caused cooling or warming or extreme weather etc. even if you accept their pseudoscientific premise.

There are some papers that imply that land use changes in the 1700s, agricultural practices or other causes made some kind of man-made impact on the climate. I can understand why they come up with these flimsy excuses. Without some way to explain the rising temperatures since the era of ice fairs on the Thames it is really hard to see any man-caused signal in the data. Temperature increases in the Thirties, during the dust bowl days, cannot otherwise be called “man-made”.

Maybe it is too much to ask that they abstain from wild speculations, but at least they could make wild speculations that don’t contradict their own so-called science.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Bruce Ploetz
November 21, 2017 7:01 pm

One might even argue that the industrial revolution was humanity’s solution to the LIA.

Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 10:18 am

If all you have is a hammer…

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 7:19 pm

…You probably should have gotten a bigger one. 🙂

November 21, 2017 10:19 am

Which then culminated in Hillary’s loss.

Timo Soren
November 21, 2017 10:26 am

1845, Irish Potato Famine, lasted 4 years, population dropped from 8.4 to 6.5 million. It is thought 1 million died from starvation and 2 million emigrated. I see the ‘fingerprint of climate change’ on this. This water carried blight, and heavy mono-culture reliance ‘clearly’ a climate effect. Even though there were social issues, poverty, starvation, political upheaval, class warfare, massive marketing by transit ships, ‘we clearly see that climate was a major issue.’

These authors need to join the researchers arguing that Syria is a climate issue as well in some South Austrailian left sided, progressive academic institution. Maybe if they actually emigrate there we can blame their emigration on climate?

Reply to  Timo Soren
November 22, 2017 4:43 am

I agree.
But we need to be sure that the European absence of transgender bathrooms was not also a factor.
People who re-write history on the basis of C.21st obsessions make me puke.

Reply to  Timo Soren
November 23, 2017 8:56 am

Potatoes are not a native plant in Ireland to begin with. The Potato Famine was worse in some parts of Ireland than in other parts. Mostly western Ireland as far as I know.

Our family has letters from Ireland from 1851 on. One letter mentions the fact things were better concerning the Potato Famine.

They also include information about “The Clearances” when whole families received passage money to North America. The landlords wanted the land to raise sheep. One letter mentions that farm land leases were were tripled.

My Irish ancestors/family had money enough to emigrate without any assistance and emigrated many years before the Famine.

November 21, 2017 10:36 am

Then the Norsemen who inhabited Greenland during the MWP (<a href="; Medieval Warm Period) should also be called “climate refugees”, the sense that they were compelled to abandon their icy homeland in favor of a warmer climate.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Johanus
November 21, 2017 10:54 am

The MWP allowed their society to expands its reach all the way to Newfoundland. It was the end of the MWP that saw a disastrous collapse for the descendants of those earlier expansions. They were living on borrowed time in a climate that had previously been too cold to farm and raise livestock. Fossil fuels and technology mitigate those problems today.

November 21, 2017 10:48 am

The Age of Discovery coinciding with the onset of the LIA: coincidence?

I think not.


November 21, 2017 10:52 am

Weather during the Little Ice Age was not due to human activity.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  TA
November 21, 2017 11:06 am

… and neither were the climatic changes. And the late-20th Century Climate Rebound has put humanity at a Modern Climatic Optimum threshold once again.

The alarmists are trying to exploit a natural variability in Earth Climate cycles with their climate change propaganda. Their alarmism is not so much a belief, but a tool toward what has always driven mankind – power and wealth accumulation into the hands of a few.

Which by the way is why the US constitution is such a unique experiment in the history of man with its political institution. It was the US constitution that declared that it is the People who allow government to exist for a newly formed nation-state. The elites in the US are almost exclusively Liberals who hate the Constitution and the Individual Rights and Liberties which ensures those liberties belong to the People and not the government to take or apportion out.

Reply to  TA
November 21, 2017 12:12 pm

Indeed it wasn’t, but the church tried to blame it on some people, calling them witches, accusing them of summoning up storms to destroy crops, etc., and inciting baying mobs. Once the victim had been burnt at the stake, their assets were of course distributed amongst the officials in charge of the process.
Hmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?
Baseless accusation: Your fossil fuel use is reponsible for this teeny bit of global warming we can observe.
Baying mobs: Streets full of sanctimonious ‘activists’ calling for and end to the use of fossil fuels
(OK, so there are no excutions happening over this).
Asset seizure and distribution: Carbon Taxes.

Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose

michael hart
November 21, 2017 10:55 am

Even if it was true, history suggests that it was a net positive for the human race.

November 21, 2017 10:57 am

Of course it’s economic. If you tell people there is gold all over the place they will come.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 21, 2017 11:00 am

The first significant gold rush in the United States was in Cabarrus County, North Carolina (east of Charlotte), in 1799 at today’s Reed’s Gold Mine.[4] Thirty years later, in 1829, the Georgia Gold Rush in the southern Appalachians occurred. It was followed by the California Gold Rush of 1848–55 in the Sierra Nevada, which captured the popular imagination. The California gold rush led directly to the settlement of California by Americans and the rapid entry of that state into the union in 1850. The gold rush in 1849 stimulated worldwide interest in prospecting for gold, and led to new rushes in Australia, South Africa, Wales and Scotland. Successive gold rushes occurred in western North America: Fraser Canyon, the Cariboo district and other parts of British Columbia, in Nevada, in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, and western New Mexico Territory and along the lower Colorado River. Resurrection Creek, near Hope, Alaska was the site of Alaska’s first gold rush in the mid–1890s.[5] Other notable Alaska Gold Rushes were Nome and the Fortymile River.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 22, 2017 3:08 am

The gold rush list should include a number in New Zealand, commencing in the 1850’s and gathering pace in the 1860’s.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 21, 2017 11:14 am

Was the climate any better in America or did it just affect Europe ?

November 21, 2017 10:58 am

“climate indirectly explains” says it all.

November 21, 2017 11:11 am

My ancestors on one grand parents side were actually from Baden, Baden in the Rhine River region. Historically, this was the Alsace-Lorraine area of Germany that had gone back and forth between France and Germany since well before Napoleon and saw a lot of conflict, especially when it led up to the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. As I recall hearing directly from my grand parents a long time ago, it was the draft into the military and constant war in the region for their parents and relatives (on both sides of the river) that led my ancestors to emigrate from the region. Just too many dead sons and general instability that told a lot of folk to get out of Dodge.

But I certainly don’t doubt that major changes in weather and climate in Europe, which also contributed to political instability, also led to massive immigration to North and South America, Australia, South Africa etc. Climate change is the first rule, and to say it was caused by fossil fuels was very early to make that assumption back then. We should get used to the fact that climate change is the default condition, and trying to blame it all on fossil fuel use now is no different than trying to blame climate change, volcanoes and all wacky weather on witchcraft back in the dark ages. Unfortunately, climate change and global warming are now conditions thought mainly caused by fossil fuel use when in reality, climate is always changing. That is something we should acknowledge now and quit blaming everything on FF use. It really is disingenuous to the study of weather and climate.

Reply to  Earthling2
November 21, 2017 11:18 am

So they went to a place where they just had a Civil War.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 21, 2017 11:49 am

Yup. Key word…’Just’ had a civil war. The USA civil war was over, as you say. And Europe had been in so many various wars it seemed there was nothing more to lose. And sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side is a strong passion too, making people get up and move. The entire human race is full of migration from time immemorial.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 21, 2017 11:52 am

Cold kills, warmth is feeding.

November 21, 2017 12:19 pm

“It was not only a century of poverty, war and revolutions in what is now Germany”

The years between 1815 and 1914 were actually rather peaceful in Germany, with only a few short wars.
More important: population increase in Germany, while population numbers in France remained flat.

Reply to  MikeE
November 21, 2017 12:54 pm

Germany did not have an important number of colonies like France, Britain or the Netherlands.

November 21, 2017 12:26 pm

Germany is a relatively cool country. If it warms in coming years, I suppose the European Geosciences Union should predict a reverse migration. Then of course the German migration could have been caused by political and religious oppression (Lutherans vs Catholics), warring among the many German principalities during the time of maximum emigration, the class system of all European countries of the time that denied ordinary people reasonable jobs, land, and liberty and probably lots of other political and cultural reasons. At least, that is what my German family members told me. No one ever told me it was because of bad weather.

Reply to  DHR
November 21, 2017 1:50 pm

A lot of Germans came here to avoid the Kaiser and Bismarck’s draft, before and after the unification of the German Empire under Prussia.

Previously, German immigrants were often socialists and communists fleeing the aftermath of the failed revolutions of 1848. The Union army was riddled with communists, including some prominent German generals. Marx himself reported on the war.

Irish refugees from the potato famine and British suppression of revolts served on both sides in the American War of Southern Secession (not technically a civil war).

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Gabro
November 21, 2017 5:32 pm

Also known as “The War of Northern Aggression.”
Many others also:

Reply to  Gabro
November 21, 2017 5:55 pm

I don’t like “War Between the States”, which only works grammatically if “States” refers to the United States of America v. the Confederate States of America.

I know a lot of people who favor “The War of Northern Aggression”.

Lincoln could easily have avoided war by withdrawing Union troops from Ft. Sumter, as had already been done at other coastal defenses in the South. But he wanted the war. Had he not called for 75,000 volunteers to invade and subdue the seceded states, previously unseceded Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas wouldn’t have joined those which had already voted to leave the Union before Ft. Sumter. Lincoln suckered the fire-breathing South Carolinian secessionists into firing the first shot.

Reply to  Gabro
November 22, 2017 2:19 am

Oh my God. Calling Lincoln’s declining to walk away from a federal fort “aggression” is an abuse of the language.
The confederacy was never accepred internationally, had little industry, little rail, a morally bankrupt position, and terrible finances.
It was a violent rebellion led by hotheads and led to tragedy after tragedy.
It still pollutes our nation today.

November 21, 2017 1:20 pm

That may well be perfectly valid analysis. Global cooling would reduce crops yields worldwide, and probably more in poorer areas than in richer. Global warming would of course cause crop yields to increase, and thus reduce immigration.

November 21, 2017 1:39 pm

So, according to the Alarmists, if only the weather and climate had been a bit warmer, the immigrants would have all stayed at home and been happy and participated in peaceful society. Thus Global Warming causes a peaceful society.

November 21, 2017 1:53 pm

Yeah, and the current migration to Australia is because people are desperate to get away from all that hot climate in Europe….

Charles Gerard Nelson
November 21, 2017 2:47 pm

Cut and pasted from…
1. Notably cold weather July to September. The summer of 1845 (June, July & August) had a mean CET=14.2degC, around a degree below the all-series mean. Specifically, August 1845 was over 2 degC colder than average. This summer was part of a run of poor such seasons from 1843 to 1845, with significantly below average temperatures using the CET series.
2. Persistent / often heavy rains over Ireland accompanied by depressed temperatures during the second half of the summer, precipitated the start of a great famine. The failure was caused by rotting of the potato (a staple food for poor families in the island) in the ground – the weather conditions (cold / damp) being ideal for spread of the spores which caused the Blight. By October of 1845, there had been a total collapse of the Irish potato source. The situation was made worse because of the failure of the corn harvest in Britain and western Europe, and the indifference of both the government in Westminster [ Ireland was at this time part of the United Kingdom ] & of the land-owners, many of whom were English, or Anglo-Irish.

Gunga Din
November 21, 2017 2:50 pm

Lots of “events” have happened in history.
Lots of complex causes.
Emigration to the US in the the 19th century. Lots of complex causes. Desire for freedom? A new start? “The Law” was after them? The Irish potato blight?
Lot’s of “dots” sprinkle history.
This tries to simplify histrory’s events, “dots”, into the kid’s game of “connect the dots” to spell out (man-made) “Climate Change!”

Mark - Helsinki
November 21, 2017 3:25 pm

one of the editors from that rag publisher is a PAGES loser . ugh

Mark - Helsinki
November 21, 2017 3:26 pm

Guaranteed any old crap that says climate change is real, no matter how ludicrous, will get published

PAGES are nothing but hockeystick generators

November 21, 2017 4:08 pm

Interesting. So the Climate Change attacked Southwest Germany, but if you moved to America, all was fine. Hmmmm…

David Her
November 21, 2017 4:26 pm

The German’s moved to escape the “Little Ice Age” to…….Wisconsin?!

Reply to  David Her
November 21, 2017 6:59 pm

Yep, and millions of Italians emigrated to Canada.

November 21, 2017 8:51 pm

There are thousands of true climate refugees in the US…. Canadians going to Florida and Phoenix for the winter….

November 22, 2017 12:10 am

More fake news or deliberate falsehood?

Possibly the climate refugees left Europe because of cold weather between 1778 and 1885. The abrupt cold began around 1878 and recovery from the cold began in 1885.

Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature recovered to “normal” about 1900, after which the NH continued to warm until about 1942 when the NH reached about the same level as in 1984 After about 1942 the NH began to cool again.

Some Considerations Relevant to Computing Average Hemispheric Temperature Anomalies, S. L. Grotch (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California)

Monthly Weather Review (MWR), American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Published online on 1 July, 1987. Data from Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK

See discussion of Stanley Grotch’s paper in the Youtubevideo:
Global Warming, Lysenkoism, Eugenics by Prof Richard Lindzen, at 30:37.

Discussion of this paper based on mention by Richard Lindzen presentation

The publication in an obscure minor journal of the AMS effectively buried Grotch’s paper until Richard Lindzen displayed his graph of CRU temperature in his lecture,

November 22, 2017 12:41 am

To report this study (as has been done elsewhere) without mentioning that it was Northern Hemisphere COOLING that was the driver of emigration would be downright misleading.

But was it climate change or merely the result of fluctuations cause by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and together with a very strong Ls Nina from about 1980?

The AMO cycle would be about 60 years from peak to peak, 1880, 1940, 2000. We might expect the trough around 2030 and another peak around 2060. Some people reading this might experience both.

Climate of migration? How climate triggered migration from southwest Germany to North America during the 19th century, Rüdiger Glaser, Iso Himmelsbach, and Annette Bösmeier, Physical Geography, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

“The century investigated was in general characterized by the Little Ice Age with three distinct cooling periods, causing major glacier advances in the alpine regions and numerous climatic extremes such as major floods, droughts and severe winter.”

The following is the correct URL for Stanley Grotch’s paper:
Some Considerations Relevant to Computing Average Hemispheric Temperature Anomalies
S. L. Grotch Published online on 1 July, 1987.

November 22, 2017 3:43 am

Their countryman Eduard Bruckner got there first in 1915: ” The settlement of the US as controlled by climate and climatic oscillations”

DC Cowboy
November 22, 2017 4:48 am

As were the Goths, Ostragoths, Vandals, & Huns ‘climate refugees’ the migration was triggered by the end of the ‘Roman Warm Period’ when tribes north of the Goths/Germanic pushed into Goth/Germanic territory because of crop & game failures further north.

Reply to  DC Cowboy
November 22, 2017 4:56 am

And obviously that could have been avoided if only they would have used renewables and electric cars.

November 22, 2017 4:53 am

I guess if you stretch the definition enough almost anyone becomes a “climate refugee”, and this is then politicized in order to gain money, influence and moral points.

“I moved here partly because I like the weather more”
“So you are a climate refugee!”

The problem seems to be that if this happened before any major CO2 emissions, how can we be sure that it’s manmade? Doesn’t this mean that nature does this stuff all the time and the best thing we can do is to prepare for them with adaptation, and not by sacrificing our wealth which ironically means we would be more vulnerable to nature? Unfortunately many greens have come to worship the Mother Nature as a goddess who apparently never does anything bad. The climate was 100% perfect and everyone lived in a disney land until evil humies came and ruined everything. Of course nature made us humans too, but you know, details…

November 22, 2017 1:37 pm

Pretty weak article!

November 22, 2017 3:06 pm

What about the early 18th century German climate refugees, from the Great Frost of 1709, toward the end of the Maunder Minimum, in the depths of the LIA?

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