A Calemety, Little Ice Age and Blue Lake

A little while I ago I put up a web page elsewhere about Blue Lake, Alaska and today a fascinating confirmation came to my attention.

The story started on Steve McIntyre’s ClimateAudit site when folks were doing real science and good things turned up. In this case data was mentioned and that as is often the case tripped me into having a look. It rapidly became apparent the organic record said something.

Copy across part of what I wrote

“”What follows is a guess.

One of the associated data series is organic matter in the sediment, bits and bobs of vegetation, perhaps animal matter. The data has a very clear step, why? Noting the date I checked.

The whole thing starts to fit together. The data file commentary with which I do not entirely agree, some items are not based on the data, does suggest that perhaps early on it was wetter, warmer and there was no glacier.

I now suggest the step change is a profound change of climate and was worldwide, the glacier there today formed. This change would explain a sharp drop in organic matter in the sediment, colder, less life, less to die.

Organic matter in sediment

Original data is here

(it would be very interesting if a pollen analysis was done from that sediment, was there species change?)

There is a profound co-incidence with recorded extreme historic events around the world.

In England this was the start of extreme hardship from terrible weather and cold over many years as crops failed and literally thousands died. It was this which broke the feudal system from a shortage of labour and demands to actually get paid for work.

“The Great Famine of 1315–1317 (or to 1322) was the first crisis that would strike Europe in the 14th century, millions in northern Europe would die over an extended number of years, marking a clear end to the earlier period of growth and prosperity during the 11th and 12th centuries. Starting with bad weather in the spring of 1315, universal crop failures lasted until the summer of 1317, from which Europe did not fully recover until 1322. It was a period marked by extreme levels of criminal activity, disease and mass death, infanticide, and cannibalism. It had consequences for Church, State, European society and future calamities to follow in the 14th century.” wikipedia

Greenland and the Vikings is well known. This was the time of the failure of the farming there and disappearance of communities. The Inuit moved in, better able to handle the cold.


A great Chinese famine is recorded, perhaps 6 million dying, in a far smaller population than today.

“From 1333 to 1337 a terrible famine killed 6,000,000 Chinese.” wikipedia”

I then mentioned the Wolf solar minimum which happened about then.

And today a PNAS paper using Icelandic Clam shells as a proxy shows a pleasing match, suggesting the above is correct and applies to at least part of Alaska.

Two millennia of North Atlantic seasonality and implications for Norse colonies

William P. Patterson,  Kristin A. Dietrich, Chris Holmden, and John T. Andrews”

Here is the PDF

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