Learning from the past.
Much of this can be described by the Grand Solar Minimum Symptoms.
Wolf Minimum (1280-1350)
Dobler's Abrupt Earth Changes
Sacha Dobler from abruptearthchanges.com's eBook offers fantastic perspective here:
- Black Death & Abrupt Earth Changes in the 14th Century: 1290-1350: Abrupt Earth changes, astronomical, tectonic and meteorological events leading up to and culminating at the Black Death period at 1348
Great Famine of 1315-1317
via wikipedia: In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and the summer, it continued to rain, and the temperature remained cool. Under such conditions, grain could not ripen, leading to widespread crop failures. Grain was brought indoors in urns and pots to keep dry. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured, so there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise; prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because brine could not be effectively evaporated in wet weather; its price increased from 30 shillings to 40 shillings. In Lorraine, wheat prices grew by 320% making bread unaffordable to peasants. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to royalty, lords, nobles, wealthy merchants and the Church. Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts and bark in the forests.
A number of documented incidents show the extent of the famine. Edward II, King of England, stopped at St Albans on 10 August 1315 and had difficulty finding bread for himself and his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England was unable to eat. The French, under Louis X, tried to invade Flanders, but in the low country of the Netherlands, the fields were soaked and the army became so bogged down that they were forced to retreat, burning their provisions where they left them, unable to carry them away.
In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserves to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected but especially the peasants, who represented 95% of the population and who had no reserve food supplies. To provide some measure of relief, the future was mortgaged by slaughtering the draft animals, eating the seed grain, abandoning children to fend for themselves (see "Hansel and Gretel") and, among old people, voluntarily refusing food for the younger generation to survive. The chroniclers of the time noted many incidents of cannibalism.
The height of the famine was reached in 1317, as the wet weather continued. Finally, in that summer, the weather returned to its normal patterns. By then, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis and tuberculosis, and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal levels and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll, but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. Though the Black Death (1338–1375) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a matter of months, whereas the Great Famine lingered for years, prolonging the suffering of the populace.
The Great Famine was restricted to Northern Europe, including the British Isles, northern France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Germany, and western Poland. It also affected some of the Baltic states except for the far eastern Baltic, which was affected only indirectly. The famine was bounded to the south by the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Spörer Minimum (1450-1550)
Maunder Minimum (1645-1715)
Dalton Minimum (1790-1820)
- History: Weather Records from Lewis & Clarke, during Dalton Minimum (1805-1806)
- 1815 eruption of Mt Tambora preceded the 1816 Year Without a Summer