Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Oct 2010
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
Defining the Little Ice Age
Ø. Paasche*,1 and J. Bakke2,1 1Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Allégaten 55, Bergen 5007, Norway
2Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Fosswinckelsgate 17, Bergen 5007, Norway
*now at: Department of Research Management, University of Bergen, Professor Keysers gate 8, Bergen 5020, Norway
Abstract. The "Little Ice Age" (LIA) is possibly the best-documented climatic anomaly of the past. A wide range of datasets portrays a harsh climate that worsened living conditions, primarily in terms of cooler temperatures, for people across Europe sometime during the last millennium. Regardless of the vast amount of data covering the LIA, there is presently no consensus concerning its spatial manifestation (was it regional or global?), its temporal constraints (when did it start and end?), or the broad-scale dynamics associated with it (what mechanisms did it involve?), although there is no shortage of suggestions. Based on a new compilation of data reflecting atmospheric circulation at both high and low latitudes, we show that the LIA lasted for roughly 400 years (∼1400–1800 AD). During this period at least four major atmospheric circulation systems on Earth co-varied on decadal to centennial timescales: Northern Annular Mode (NAM), Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and West African Monsoon (WAM). This pattern of convergence suggests that a strong coupling between these circulation systems was an important pre-condition for the realisation of the LIA.

Citation: Paasche, Ø. and Bakke, J.: Defining the Little Ice Age, Clim. Past Discuss., 6, 2159-2175,, 2010.
Ø. Paasche and J. Bakke
Interactive discussionStatus: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC C921: 'Review', Anonymous Referee #1, 26 Oct 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C977: 'Review of Defining The Little Ice Age', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Nov 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C1102: 'Review Paasche & Bakke', Anonymous Referee #3, 08 Dec 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
EC C1230: 'Editor's decision', Volker Rath, 28 Dec 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
Ø. Paasche and J. Bakke
Ø. Paasche and J. Bakke


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