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Alternate History

The Little Ice Age Was Not So Little

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There is no agreed beginning year to the Ice Age, although there is a frequently referenced series of events preceding the climatic minima. Starting in the 13th century, pack ice began advancing southwards in the North Atlantic, as did glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas. The three years of torrential rains beginning in 1315 ushered in an era of unpredictable weather in Northern Europe which only preceded to deteriorate over the next 600 years. There is anecdotal evidence of expanding glaciers almost worldwide.


For this reason, any of several dates ranging over 400 years may indicate the beginning of the Ice Age:


1250 for when Atlantic pack ice began to grow.


1300 for when warm summers stopped being dependable in Northern Europe.


1315 for the rains and Great Famine of 1315-1317.


1550 for beginning of worldwide glacial expansion.


1650 for the first climatic minimum.


Among the earliest references to the coming climate change is an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles dated 1046: "And in this same year after the 2nd of February came the severe winter with frost and snow, and with all kinds of bad weather, so that there was no man alive who could remember so severe a winter as that, both through mortality of men and disease of cattle; both birds and fishes perished through the great cold and hunger.


From 1650 the global temperature decreased year on year by 1700 snow was lying year round in the Grampians and Caingorms in Scotland and in the Rockies as far south as Mexico.


By 1750 Atlantic pack ice was reported as far south as the coast off Ireland and the USA. crops could no longer be grown in Canada, Scotland, parts of Russia, and Scandinavia. Glaciers in the Alps, Pyrennes and Himalayas begin to expand into the lower valley's.


Due to the failed crops in the Americas and the colonies need for food from the UK there is no revolution in 1776.


1800's, Scandinavia, Scotland, Siberia, Mongolia, Alaska, north islands of Japan and most of Canada are uninhabitable apart from around the coasts all year round. snow is now forming new glaciers in Cumbria, Pennines and Moors of England, Snowdonia in Wales, Appalachian mountain in the east USA and Sierra Madre mountains in the west of the USA. the North Atlantic is impassible to shipping from October until April.


1850's Scotland, Scandinavia, the highlands of Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Canada, Siberia and Alaska are all but abandoned.


Sea level starts to drop dramatically by up to half an inch per year.


Global populations start to decrease in number, the first time since the black death of the 1340's.


From the 1870's the global temperature decreases dramatically. In 1880 Queen Victoria asked the colonial councils of the Americas to give land to the peoples of the UK, it takes 15 years to evacuate the UK and Ireland to the southern states of America. the new capital of the UK is set up in Charleston. Many other countries in northern Europe follow suit and move to their colonies in Africa and Asia.


By 1990's the ice extends to the same extent as the glacial maximum of 21,000 BCE. sea levels have dropped by 200 feet


At this time, ice sheets cover the whole of Iceland and all but the southern extremity of the British Isles (which is now uninhabitable tundra). Northern Europe was largely covered, the southern boundary passing through Germany and Poland, but not quite joined to the British ice sheet. This ice extended eastward to occupy the northern half of the West Siberian Plain, ending at the Taymyr Peninsula. In North America, the ice covered essentially all of Canada and extended roughly to the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, and eastward to bury New York City. Due to sea level change and ice sheets a person could theoretically walk east from North America to Europe across the frozen Atlantic ice sheet and west to Russia over the exposed Bering seabed.


In the Southern Hemisphere, the Patagonian Ice Sheet covers Chile and western Argentina north to about 41 degrees south. Ice sheets also covered Tibet, the Venezuelan Andes and the Andean altiplano. In Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, many smaller mountain glaciers formed, especially in the Atlas, the Bale Mountains, and New Guinea.


Permafrost covered Europe south of the ice sheet down to the Mediterranean and Asia down to Beijing. In North America, latitudinal gradients were so sharp that permafrost did not reach far south of the ice sheets except at high elevations.


The Indonesian islands as far east as Borneo and Bali were connected to the Asian continent in a vast landmass now called Sundaland, while the the Philippine Islands formed one large island separated from the continent only by the Sibutu Passage and the Mindoro Strait. Australia and New Guinea were connected forming New Oceania. The Persian Gulf is now dry and the Euphrates runs along the base of the old sea bed, this has become one of the most fertile area on earth for agriculture.


Due to the reduced sea levels the large rivers start eroding down into their deltas forming large steep sided canyons. the black sea starts to desalinate itself from an oceanic basin to a large lake roughly 70% of its previous size.


Due to increasing levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere due to industrialisation scientists in New Oceania declare that in the next fifty years temperatures could start rising by up to 0.5 degrees per decade this could cause the ice to start melting.


The global population of the earth has reduced to less than 500 million and is still decreasing, scientists say it could decrease to 100 million in the next 100 years due to famines and the cold. This will mean that the Earth will have the population it had in approximately 500 BC.

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