Scotland’s temperatures were up to two degrees colder during ‘Little Ice Age’

April 27th, 2009 - 3:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 27 (ANI): A new research suggests that temperatures in Scotland during the Little Ice Age, which lasted a period of 70 years from 1645 to 1715, were 1.5 to 2 degree Celsius cooler than they are today.

According to a report by BBC News, astronomers have reported that the Sun is at its dimmest for almost a century. Some scientists believe a similar “quiet spell” is connected to a cooling of temperatures in a period of time called the Maunder Minimum.

Also known as the Little Ice Age, it featured ‘The Great Frost’, which froze the River Thames in London for days.

Interestingly, this period coincided with some of the most dramatic events in Scotland’s history.

A king was forced into exile, there was rebellion, famine, an ill-fated Scottish bid to establish a colony in Central America and a sandstorm buried a coastal estate.

The span of 70 years also saw the signing of the Act of Union in 1707 and the unsuccessful Jacobite rising of 1715.

At the moment, there are no sunspots and very few solar flares - making our nearest star the quietest it has been for a very long time.

The Sun normally undergoes an 11-year cycle of activity. At its peak, it has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. This is followed by a calmer period.

Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead, it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity

Temperatures in Scotland during the Little Ice Age were 1.5C to 2C cooler than they are today. In the summer, this shortened the growing season and devastated staple crops.

According to Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, climate change had to be considered among a range of factors that drove spells of unrest and hardship in the 17th and 18th centuries.

He said that bouts of depopulation of the Highlands and Islands, which he described as being “on the fringes of climatic optimum at best”, could also be connected to extreme weather. (ANI)

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