Extreme weather caused by global warming is one of the biggest threats facing the world today. However, a research project has thrown light on the catastrophic climate shift endured by England just a few centuries ago, which brought snowstorms that lasted weeks, flooding which washed away entire villages and winds that sank flotillas of ships. From the 1500s to the 1700s, England went through an unusually cold and stormy period, nicknamed the Little Ice Age , which was possibly caused either by reduced activity from the sun, volcanic eruptions or atmospheric changes. The strange climatic shift happened before weather was accurately monitored, so Western University in Canada has trawled through diaries, chronicles and political treatises to find out exactly what happened and map the areas worst hit. It makes for sobering reading. "The material that we've been gathering is totally different from anything that's been gathered," said Prof Madeline Bassnett, the director of the project. On one catastrophic day, Oct 5 1570, the team uncovered dozens of anecdotes recounting widespread devastation following violent storms. In Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, an innkeeper and his son were swept away along with their home, which was deposited six miles away in… Read full this story
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