Paul Homewood has an excellent analysis of Little Ice Age storms. Cold brings more powerful storms than warming. Warming has produced fewer hurricane and tornado, but a colder earth has produced some earth changing storms.
Brian Fagan, in his book “The Little Ice Age”, states that,”throughout Europe, the years 1560-1600 were cooler and stormier, with late wine harvests and considerably stronger winds than those of the 20th Century. Storm activity increased by 85% in the second half of the 16th Century and the incidence of severe storms rose by 400%.”.
HH Lamb comes to similar conclusions, “there was a greater intensity, and a greater frequency, of intense storm development during the Little Ice Age”, in his book “Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe”.
Edward Bryant, in the book, “Natural Hazards”, gives us a rundown of some of the biggest storms:-
- Four storms along the Dutch and German coasts in the 13thC killed at least 100,000 each. The worst is estimated to have killed 300,000.
- North Sea storms in 1099, 1421 and 1446 also killed 100,000 each in England and the Netherlands.
- By far the worst storm was the All Saints Day flood of 1570, when 400,000 people were killed throughout Western Europe.
- The Great Storm of 1703 sank virtually all ships in the English Channel, with the loss of 8000 to 10000 lives.
- Other storms with similar death tolls occurred in 1634, 1671, 1682, 1686, 1694 and 1717.
- Much of the coastline of northern Europe owes its origin to this period of storms. For instance, storms reduced the size of the island of Heligoland from 60km to 1km.
- The Great Drowning Disaster of 1362 eroded 15km landward of the Danish coast, destroying over 60 parishes.
- The Lucia storm of 1287 carved out the Zuider Zee.
It was not just flooding that was a problem. There were many sand storms that caused great destruction, such as the great Culbin Sands storm in 1694, which blew so much sand over the Culbin Estate in Scotland, that the farm buildings themselves disappeared. The Estate became a desert and was never reclaimed.
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