The Year Europe Froze

The winter of 1709 was the coldest in 500 years.  All across Europe, from Scandinavia to northern Italy, and to the western coast of France, livestock died in their barns, fish froze in the rivers, millions of birds died, wild animals froze in the forests, the soil froze to the depth of 3 feet or more.

Trees exploded, chicken's combs froze and fell off, the Baltic Sea remained frozen solid until April, the lagoon in Venice froze (see image).

Wine froze in barrels, bread froze so hard it took an axe to cut it, public fires were lit to warm the poor, the winter wheat crop was destroyed, olive and fruit trees were killed, and by spring, more than a million people in Europe died of cold or starvation. 

Climatologists are studying this time period to try to figure out just why that particular winter was so severe.  They know the Little Ice Age was at its peak and the sun's output was at its lowest in millenia. During 1707 and 1708, dust from spectacular volcanic explosions at Mount Fuji, Santorini and Vesuvius probably depressed temperatures in both summer and winter.  But all those factors still don't completely explain the winter Europe froze.

Link - via darkroastedblend

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Marilyn Terrell.

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

And maybe when they figure out this puzzle, they'll also figure out the cause of the Medieval Warm Period. But don't expect to hear anything about it if they determine the causes weren't anthropogenic.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I think it has more to do with the abnormally cold weather for the region rather than just 'can this species survive these temperatures?'
The plants and animals that were used to a certain temperature were not accustomed to what they experienced, nor were they prepared in any way, so they survived as best they could, but if plants are killed off, then herbivores have less to eat, carnivores have less, and the whole ecosystem is impacted. It doesn't sound that outrageous to me to have such phenomenon as exploding and splitting trees under such circumstances.

Sometimes Mother Nature marches to her own drummer. It'll be interesting to see where we're headed, into increasingly hot weather because of global warming, or into the next miniature ice age instead.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Am I missing something? -15C is about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, correct? We get those temperatures in the US every winter, and our trees don't "explode". Of course the ground froze to 3 feet deep, that's why when you build anything in Iowa, you have to put the footings below the frost line. I understand that these people didn't have today's technology, but they still should have had the ability to store food, wear warm clothes and build fires. I suppose that it is the same mentality as people in the southern states that are so used to the warm weather that even a little dusting of snow or ice causes problems, and when there is a major freeze, everything shuts down, and they're just not prepared.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"In the past 300 years its warmed 14 degrees Fahrenheit! This global warming will kill us all!! Must raise taxes!!!" -- Al "Carbon Exchange" Gore
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The Year Europe Froze"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More