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The Little Ice Age and The Year Without Summer

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The Little Ice Age was a period of time when the climate cooled down considerably in many parts of the world, especially around the North Atlantic.

There is some disagreement as to when exactly the Little Ice Age started, but most records indicate that the North Atlantic began cooling down a bit in the mid thirteenth century. The Little Ice Age apparently marked the end of the Medieval Warm Period. The Little Ice Age lasted for many centuries, and the temperatures began warming up again in the 1850's. There is also some suggestion that perhaps current global warming represents the world officially coming out of the Little Ice Age and entering into a new Warm Period.

Many strange events occurred during the Little Ice Age, especially in the year 1816 — The Year Without a Summer. The summer of 1816 brought severe cold and even snow storms to New England and eastern Canada. Crops were frozen, many people died, livestock died, and even birds froze in mid-flight and fell to the earth. There were even icy rivers and ponds found as far south as Pennsylvania. Why!? It is generally believed by experts that prior to the summer of 1816, there was an increase of volcanic eruptions, including a large eruption from Mount Tambora, which caused a large amount of volcanic dust to accumulate into the upper atmosphere. This obviously caused less heat from the sun to penetrate through the atmosphere.

The Year Without a Summer did have a positive impact on culture and art. Mary Shelley, for instance, ended up writing Frankenstein while she was trapped indoors that summer. She, John William Polidori, and their friends decided to have a writing contest. Lord Byron, inspired by the weather that summer, ended up writing his 1816 poem, Darkness. A man named Joseph Smith moved his family from Vermont to New York after dealing with crop failures, and ended up participating in a series of events that led up to the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well as the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Although it’s believed by most mainstream scientists that the Little Ice Age ended around 1850, there are some who believe we’re still recovering from it, and that global warming is not man-made. This theory is refuted by mainstream scientists claiming that while the Little Ice Age was mainly an epidemic in the North Atlantic, global warming—as the name suggests---is a worldwide problem

Could this happen again?