chapter  17
31 Pages

Causes of the Little Ice Age and Similar Fluctuations

ByJean M. Grove

The Little Ice Age was a global phenomenon and the multiple moraines it has left behind clearly demonstrate it was a complex phenomenon, one of several that have occurred in the past ten thousand years since the Last Glacial period. The repeated advances of ice in the Alps between 1320 and 1850 brought glacier tongues forward to very similar terminal positions time after time. In 1600, when the magnetic declination at London and Paris was zero, the different magnetic field configuration may perhaps have controlled the climatic pattern of the Little Ice Age. The time of onset of the Little Ice Age in South America is still uncertain, though there is some evidence from Quelccaya and indications of thirteenth-century advances from the outlet glaciers of the southern Patagonia icecap. Increased precipitation no doubt played a part in Little Ice Age glacier advances.