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?



Author: Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Explosive Volcanism Triggered the Little Ice Age”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

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