Explosive Volcanism Triggered the Little Ice Age

Headline at Ice Age Now blog:

Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA), researchers insist. Low sunspot activity is not the culprit.

Precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland show that “Little Ice Age summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD,” researchers found.These intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half-centuries of the past millennium, the study shows. “Explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times.”“Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg.

”Once the ice age was triggered, cold summers were maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols were removed. the authors assert. “Large changes in solar irradiance are not required.

Full Post is HERE.
The original research document is HERE.

“Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks,” published on 31 January 2012

From a comment on the Ice Age Now Post:

From what I see on this page it sounds like the researchers are not aware of what causes the increased volcanic activity and earthquakes in the first place. Namely a very weak solar cycle is directly linked to a substantial increase in volcanic activity. The “experts” are still having a hard time connecting the dots.

I have published the graphic below several times showing an increase in volcanic activity during grand minimums. The question is still open, how does a quiet sun cause an increase in volcanic activity on the earth?


Your thoughts are most welcome?  What is the solar connection to earthquakes on the planet? It looks like the sudden cool down starts before the plethora of volcanic eruptions on the chart. Does the cooling cause eruptions?



10 thoughts on “Explosive Volcanism Triggered the Little Ice Age

  1. The Atmosphere Guy August 13, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    Now that we know a little more about the interaction between solar and earthly magnetic fields, perhaps such as that outlined by ‘Magnetic Rope Theory’, we can probably say that changes in solar magnetic dynamics will almost certainly give rise to geomagnetic changes, and that the possibility exists that this will influence tectonic activity – even if only fractionally it may be enough to trigger a latent response – as physical core/mantel motion and geomagnetic fields may be considered mutually interdependent.
    It seems also that coronal-hole effects and impacts can have results similar to spot related CMEs but be somewhat out of phase with visible spot activity, so directly linking observed spot activity to geo-responses can mislead. Spot activity may be viewed as a general indicator, rather than specifically causal. Spots, in the past, may have been visible but not doing much, magnetic activity may have started to decline while the spot count remained, low but present, and vice-versa with hole related magnetic disturbances continuing but with spots absent, much as we have at present.
    Adding this concept to the anticipated atmospheric cooling, cosmic ray cloud building and ice build stresses all resulting from reduced solar impact, might suggest that the overall climate and volcanic response should be considered as ‘multifaceted, interactive’ rather than one single cause. This might go some way to explaining the observed ‘suddenness’ of the cooling reported as the various factors become mutually reinforcing.

    • Aj August 17, 2017 / 2:55 pm

      thank you for posting this response, just read an article earlier today saying the low spot count triggered earthquakes and the volcanism, not the other way around.

    • jlk103144 August 20, 2017 / 12:32 pm

      The ‘Magnetic Rope Theory’(flux transfer event) is very interesting, and has me thinking twice about he possibility of gravity being exerted by the positioning of the Jovian planets, as the cause of periodic vulcanism, and little ice ages. Of all the possibilities, those two appear to be the best candidate. However, it would seem that ‘flux transfer events’ would be directly related to sunspot activity, rather than the cause.
      Also remember, that is has been proven that ‘flux transfer events’, while they tend to be intense, are short lived. Gravity, on the other hand is constant, due to mass.
      Perhaps it could be a combination of the two, acting in concert with each other, exerting their influences on our planet. One, ‘gravity’, could be the undercoat and the other,’flux transfer’ the stimulus to kick start the entire event.
      Something worth delving into a bit closer.

    • Russ Steele August 23, 2017 / 9:33 pm

      Insightful analysis. According to Casey, we are about to have a series of overlapping solar cycles, that will result in accelerated cooling. I do not have access to the specific cycles he references and will post them later. I agree we are dealing with a multifaceted interaction but think it may have a chaotic trigger function.

      • The Atmosphere Guy December 2, 2017 / 4:42 am

        As an interesting ‘follow-on’, just out of curiosity, I cross referenced the Japanese earthquake of March 11th 2011 at 0546 UTC (The Tohoku earthquake measuring 9.1) with geomagnetic data records from Tromso Geophysical Observatory. It is perhaps not too surprising that immediately before, during and indeed during the run-up to that event there were some very significant geomagnetic disturbances.
        Those during the event would probably be due to the event itself.
        Would need a lot more intensive research to draw any serious conclusions but that may well be justified. Records going back that far are not great, but it does seem to support the ‘Latent Trigger’ concept.

  2. dcterrain August 22, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    From another source I don’t have at my finger tips right now, there is a “settling” of the tectonic plates associated with a solar minimum. This “settling” increases tension in the plates so there are fewer yet stronger earthquakes. Perhaps there is some sort of tectonic effect where pressure builds up under the plates during the “settling” of which volcanos are somehow venting this increased pressure.

  3. dcterrain August 22, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    Here’s a 2015 article from WattsUp that is very detailed. Refutes statistical significance of “cluster” of volcanic eruptions due to not enough data points neaning actual eruptions. Makes the case that sunspot activity does NOT have a statistically significant corrolation.


    My own take on this is elementary school thermodynamics where less radiation = less heat = harder crust = more stability = more brittle crust = fewer, larger earthquakes and more “venting” from volcanos. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I’m an authority, but Occam’s Razor stalks us all, right?

  4. westernwei September 8, 2017 / 9:15 am

    Someone needs to explore the correlation between variations in solar magnetic field during low Sunspots periods and earthquakes and volcanism. Valentina Zharkova’s of Northumbria University has posited a theory of the interraction of dual solar magnetic fields and Sunspots. Couldn’t solar magnetic fields and Earth’s magnetic field interact and produce greater earthquake activity?

  5. The Atmosphere Guy December 3, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    We are getting into very speculative areas here! The big risk for Bali- according to the ‘Trigger’ concept – may be around the 7th December. If we get through that we may be fairly safe although the 18th is a risk.
    Ref the Tohoku quake, there is a steady build-up then a ‘bang’ on the graphs. Which was the trigger, which the result, which a bit of both in feedback is impossible to say – but fascinating to play with!

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