Climatologists have identified a period of nearly 500 years where a significant part of the Northern Hemisphere experienced colder than normal temperatures. The period known as the Little Ice Age started around 1275 and ended in the 1800’s.
They determined the times of the Little Ice Age by conducting radiocarbon dating on recovered material from melting ice caps on Baffin Island, located in the Canadian arctic. Gifford Miller, lead researcher and climatologist from the University of Colorado at Boulder reported that their data shows that the plants at both lower and higher elevations appeared to have frozen at the same time, indicating the cold onset was rapid.
Gifford and his team also sampled glacial lakes in Iceland where they collected sediment cores. Studying the sediment cores, they looked for erosion patterns and were able to identify the same time periods for the Little Ice Age as they found in the radiocarbon studies from Baffin Island.
After confirming the dates for the cold spell, they looked for what may have caused the sudden and prolonged cooling. They discovered that the cold spell coincided with volcanic eruptions, the first one occurring in 1275. Over the next 500 years they identified four major periods of volcanic eruptions which served to keep the colder climate in tact until eruptions decreased in the nineteenth century.
It has long been known that volcanic eruptions can lower global temperatures, such as the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines that caused a drop of 1 degree Fahrenheit. However, eruptions such as Mt Pinatubo are, by themselves, incapable of long sustained periods of cooling, but long periods of volcanic eruptions can account for longer sustained periods of colder temperatures.
Further studies indicate that sea ice in the northern latitudes extended further south during the 500 year Little Ice Age. One of the instances they cited occurred when the New York harbor froze over in 1780. It was the first time in recorded history that New Yorkers were able to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.
This study lends credence to the major biblical explanation for the Ice Age, which we believe was the result of the extensive volcanism that occurred during and after the Genesis Flood. There would have been a huge release of aerosol particles in the atmosphere that would have lowered temperatures on a global scale. The oceans would have been quite warm as a result of the tectonic and volcanic activity during the Flood. The warmer oceans would have resulted in increased evaporation of ocean waters which would have resulted in increased precipitation over the continents. The colder temperatures would result in the increased precipitation falling in the form of heavy snow and possibly ice. The massive snowfalls resulted in the glaciers and ice sheets that covered vast areas in the northern hemisphere. Eventually the oceans cooled, the atmospheric aerosols precipitated out of the sky allowing the land surfaces to warm back causing the ice sheets to recede to the north.
When you examine the study conducted by Gifford and his team and then extrapolate those conditions multiple times to account for the magnitude of the catastrophic events that took place at the time of the Flood, it goes a long way to verify the creationist explanation for the Ice Age.
Another facet about Gifford’s study might help explain the supposed global warming that some say started with the industrial revolution of the late 1800’s. The end of the Little Ice Age just happens to coincide with the beginning of the onset of factories and mechanization. Could it be that the warming of global temperatures are just as much the result of the decreased volcanic activity as it is to industrial pollution?
Once again, good science helps to confirm biblical explanations for the world around us.
Was Little Ice Age Caused By Increased Volcanism In The Middle Ages?, Red Orbit, May 10, 2012.
The story of Noah and the great Flood has been told many times, but never has it been illustrated like this. British author and illustrator, Richard Oakes, brings Noah and family to life with his intriguing depictions and beautiful landscapes. While the illustrations might be fun, the story is real and striking. After all, Noah and his family and the animals aboard the Ark were the only ones who survived. Your children will enjoy this story and also realize that God is Creator, judge and redeemer. (Preschool–Primary/Elementary) 28 pages.