Epic and massive flooding in Europe during the Little Ice Age

Written by iceagenow.org

Killed more than 500,000 people.

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Andrew McKillop has a new article posted at The Market Oracle. Here are some excerpts.

This is the global cooling fear

Intense flooding in the low countries of Europe became “darkly repetitive” during the Little Ice Age, writes McKillop. The cooling period  lasted 450 years,

For the Dutch, the Grote Mandrenke is nothing to do with Linux software, but means “The Great Drowning” and is named for the epic and massive flooding that occurred, more and more frequently in the Low Countries of Europe’s North Sea region as Europe’s Little Ice Age intensified.

Grote Mandrenke flood killed at least 100 000 

Normal or predictable spring and autumn flooding was increasingly replaced by large-area and intense flooding, sometimes outside spring and autumn from about 1300, in recurring crises which lasted into the 18th century. In the Low Countries and across Europe, but also elsewhere, the cooling trend starting in the late 13th century became more intense. It brought long cold winters, heavy storms and floods, loss of coastal farmlands, and huge summer sandstorms in coastal areas further damaging agriculture. Climate historians estimate that major flooding on an unpredictable but increasingly frequent basis started as early as 1250. Extreme events like the Grote Mandrenke flood of 1362 which killed at least 100 000 people became darkly repetitive. 

Other giant floods probably killed 400 000

Other giant floods in the region through the next 200 years probably killed a total of 400 000 persons in the coastlands of what is now Belgium, Germany and Holland. At the time, Europe’s population was at most a quarter of today’s, meaning that corrected for population size these were really catastrophic disasters. During this time, the Zuider Zee region of northern Holland was inundated and its former farmlands disappeared under water – for several centuries.

Crop failures and famines

The basic reasons was that the weather was getting colder, as well as more unpredictable. As the climate cooled, it also became wetter. Combined with the cold, this caused more crop failures and famines spread as the northern limit of farming retreated south. The start of the cooling – called Europe’s Little Ice Age by glaciologist Francois Matthes in 1939 – in the 13th century was in fact the start of a long, sometimes steep dip in temperatures that held sway on an unpredictable, on-and-off basis until at least the first decade of the 19th century. Overall, the cooling lasted about 450 years. 

 Preceded by more than two centuries of much warmer more predictable weather 

Making things worse, the cooling had been preceded by more than two centuries of much warmer and better, more predictable weather. Farming moved northwards, seasons were predictable, food supplies had expanded. Europe’s population also grew, in some regions tripling in 200 years. The colonization of Greenland, which failed when the cooling intensified, was a well-known historical spinoff from the previous warming, but by the 16th century there was no trace of Europeans in Greenland. Only ruins of their farms and homes could be found, but with few or no tombstones dated beyond the early 15th  century, leading to the theory that these early “Climate Refugees” packed their longboats and sailed south, to what is now the New England coast. Where they became easy prey for American Indian tribes along those coasts.

And as more evidence shows that the Medieval Warm Period was no isolated event in Europe but was a global phenomenon, McKillop’s analysis takes on more immediate relevance:

The climate historian Hubert H. Lamb in his 2002 book ‘Climate History and the Modern World’ dates the cooling to two main phases. The first leg of this change he places at about 1200-1400, but his second phase of about 1500-1825 which for some climate historians is Europe’s Little Ice Age, was marked by much steeper drops in average temperatures. Indicators used by Lamb and other climate historians like Emmanuel Leroy Ladrie and Wolfgang Behringer include food price peaks as cold summers followed cold and wet springs, with increasing examples of “climate wars”, such as Louis X’s Flanders campaign where the climate chilling was a sure factor in play.

I fear that we’re headed into such a period of great cooling and repetitive catastrophic flooding right now.

This while our leaders prattle on about global warming, leaving us almost totally unprepared.

Andrew McKillop is former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission, and co-author of ‘The Doomsday Machine’, Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

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