20 Amazing Winter Paintings from the Little Ice Age

Posted: April 21, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, History, Temperature

An Impression of Winter by Claude Monet

Is the Earth still recovering from the Little Ice Age, a time when many glaciers advanced and recorded sea levels were falling?

The Little Ice Age was a period from about 1300 to 1870 when Europe and North America experienced much colder winters than we do today, says 5 Minute History.

Paintings from the Little Ice Age show us what it was like.

There were two phases, the first of which ran from about 1300 to 1500. Then came a slightly warmer period in the 1500s, followed by the second phase when climate deteriorated substantially.

Temperatures plummeted, crops failed, heavy snowfalls and glaciation consumed small villages and farms. Most waterways and lakes in Europe froze over.

Temperatures wouldn’t reach pre-Little Ice Age levels until the 20th century.

To make matters worse, there was significant volcanic activity. In 1815, Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies erupted—one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history.

So much volcanic ash was forced into the atmosphere that it partially blocked the sun’s warming rays, leading to the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

Snow fell in New York in June, Massachusetts had frosts in August, and ice still floated in the lakes and rivers of northwestern Pennsylvania during August.

But art flourished, and provides us with a visual record of weather conditions.

Here are 20 of the best winter paintings from the Little Ice Age.

  1. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Beautiful but brutal. Be thankful it’s much warmer now.

  2. oldbrew says:

    The Little Ice Age was a period from about 1300 to 1870 when Europe and North America experienced much colder winters than we do today

    Given global wind and ocean circulation patterns, it’s hard to see how the cold could have been confined to one part of the globe only for several centuries.

    The reason(s) for the cooling is/are not well understood, it seems – apart from the occasional monster volcano.

  3. JB says:

    Interesting paintings, but they certainly don’t depict the snow depths in the Western hemisphere, even as late as my childhood. Growing up in Central City, UT in the 50s we played in snow as deep as 45cm, and walked to school in10cm depth and temps to -15ºC. There were storms that dropped so much snow that we could not shovel the sidewalk clear in front of our house but what when looking back there was no evidence at all any clearing had been accomplished. We just considered that normal weather, and were grateful we didn’t live in Aspen CO. or Jackson, WY.. During those warm years I remember seeing snow covered mountains in July, and intraversable mountain passes in summer.

    The long-term trend since 2500 BCE has been colder cold periods exponentially, according to Harris & Mann at longrangeweather.com. All in what one is used to, I suppose.

  4. oldbrew says:

    JB – maybe the cold was more likely to endure back then, e.g. the Thames freezing over in tidal London leading to ‘frost fairs’ on the tideway averaging once every ten years.


    NB in those days it only had to freeze between the arches of the old London Bridge to get the process going.

  5. oldmanK says:

    The little ice-age was at the root of the Eddy cycle. We are heading for a peak, so we should not expect and cooling just yet. Peaks were generally warm, roots cold, except 2345bce – abrupt change-.

    As per JB above ” trend since 2500 BCE has been colder cold periods” but temps have been picking up slowly since 600.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Why isn’t the tree line changing?

    Revising the tree zone

    Studies by Overpeck et al in 1997, Hansen et al in 1999, Briffa et al in 2001 and Lugina et al in 2006 claim increased temperatures over the last 100 years – yet so far no change in the tree line. The authors outline the expected changes from modern global warming and then add, these changes have not yet generated an extension of conifer species limits, to, or beyond, the former position occupied during the Medieval Warm Period. Pause. They have NOT yet reached the limit of the MWP. In other words, the models have been projected but Nature has yet to respond.


  7. Paul Vaughan says:

    2 Decade Split 4 Slips Peak 2 Centuries

    Stressing quadrature Bollinger (1952) accounted only silently for slip:

    harmonic mean of (E-J) & (V-J)
    (1.0920796543202)*(0.648846557532906) / ( (1.0920796543202 + 0.648846557532906) / 2 ) = 0.814040387734913 years
    harmonic of (V-E) nearest harmonic mean of (E-J) & (V-J)
    harmonic of 1.59868955949705 nearest 0.814040387734913 is 1.59868955949705 / 2 = 0.799344779748523 years
    (0.799344779748523)*(0.814040387734913) / (0.799344779748523 – 0.814040387734913) = 44.2784629967678 years

    Timing JEV’s quad slip past local EV’s quads:

    44.2784629967678 / 4 = 11.0696157491919 years
    1.59868955949705 / 4 = 0.399672389874261 years
    harmonic of 11.0696157491919 nearest 0.399672389874261 is 11.0696157491919 / 28 = 0.395343419613998 years
    (0.395343419613998)*(0.399672389874261) / (0.395343419613998 – 0.399672389874261) = 36.5001004485009 years

    de Vries just mirrors bidecadal’s quad-slip frame:

    (36.500100448501)*(44.2784629967678) / (36.500100448501 – 44.2784629967678) = 207.777451495543 years
    (36.500100448501)*(44.2784629967678) / (36.500100448501 + 44.2784629967678) = 20.0073915424639 years

    By Seidelmann squad’s (1992) fine-tuning, split peak-hindsight slipped in 4-review:

    (20.0073915424639)*(22.1392314983839) / (20.0073915424639 – 22.1392314983839) = 207.777451495543 years

    “Look: 4 reflections…” – Q
    Whatever you do… – Q

    22 may knot slip past the loyalist golden retrievers putting best feat 4-ward, chasing threw mean elements where ball lingers 4 decades 2 centuries.