Think the Past Winter Was Bad? Get Ready for Mini Ice Age

Winnipeg Free Press, April 11, 2014 | Go to article overview

Think the Past Winter Was Bad? Get Ready for Mini Ice Age


Scientific speculation is intensifying that a new mini Ice Age is looming.

The last mini Ice Age struck the northern hemisphere about A.D. 1450 and lasted 400 years. It was dubbed the "Little Ice Age." In Canada, it had a huge impact on everything from crop yields to changing ecosystems.

"The Little Ice Age decreased the number of frost-free days and altered the composition of forests," report York University geographers Celina and Ian Campbell.

It was brought on by a seemingly miniscule average cooling of one to two degrees Celsius, climatologists report. But its impact was huge. Historians called it the "General Crisis" owing to its enormous impact: Crop harvests declined "disastrously."

Recent meteorological and other developments have prompted some researchers to predict another mini Ice Age is likely starting to take shape.

According to Habibulla Abdusamatov, an astrophysicist with the Russian Academy of Science, the northern hemisphere has been cooling since the 1990s and 2014 sets the stage for a full mini Ice Age by 2055.

According to the National Oceanic Centre, the North Atlantic is cooling rapidly because the northward circulation of warm, subtropical waters has declined sharply, impacting on the Atlantic Ocean circulation system.

Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory reports northern hemisphere snow cover has been increasing significantly since 1998; it reached 46.81 million square kilometres in 2014. According to NASA, the solar cycle, which will peak in 2022, is among the weakest in centuries and will enhance cooling.

In North America, the National Climate Data Center has reported December 2013 to March 2014 were the coldest four consecutive months ever recorded in most of central and eastern North America. Ice cover on the Great Lakes was the second-most extensive ever recorded and the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory says ice cover in early April "obliterates all previous records" at 700 per cent above normal. …

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