News of the WeekCLIMATOLOGY

The Little Ice Age--Only the Latest Big Chill

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Science  25 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5423, pp. 2069
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5423.2069

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BOSTON-- At the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union here earlier this month, paleoceanographers reported that they had found tiny bits of ice-borne rock in North Atlantic sediments laid down during the Little Ice Age, from about 1400 to 1900, and in older sediments every millennium or two, beginning at least 130,000 years ago. The finding implies that Earth has experienced a long string of Little Ice Ages, perhaps driven by variations in the sun or by changes in ocean currents. It also suggests that the world will be warming naturally, as part of this roughly 1500-year climate cycle, on top of any human-induced greenhouse effect.