Little Ice Age Shrank Europeans, Sparked Wars
Study aims to scientifically link climate change to societal upheaval.
(Also see "Sun Oddly Quiet—Hints at Next 'Little Ice Age'?")
The Little Ice Age curbed agricultural production and eventually led to the European crisis, according to the authors of the study—said to be the first to scientifically verify cause-and-effect between climate change and large-scale human crises.
Prior to the industrial revolution, all European countries were by and large agrarian, and as study co-author David Zhang pointed out, "In agricultural societies, the economy is controlled by climate," since it dictates growing conditions.
A team led by Zhang, of the University of Hong Kong, pored over data from Europe and other the Northern Hemisphere regions between A.D. 1500 to 1800.
The team compared climate data, such as temperatures, with other variables, including population sizes,