Published on: October 26, 2023

Little Ice Age

Little Ice Age

Why in news? A research was carried out in the Western Ghats region to analyze the fluctuations in rainfall patterns that occurred during the Little Ice Age


  • Study of the Little Ice Age (LIA), a global climatic event between CE 1671-1942, has revealed that the age was wet and not uniformly cold and dry.

What is the Little Ice Age?

  • The Little Ice Age was a period of cooler climate that occurred roughly from the late Middle Ages (around the 14th century) to the mid-19th century.
  • During this time, there were periods of significantly colder temperatures compared to the present day.
  • The effects of the Little Ice Age were most pronounced in the Northern Hemisphere, with various regions experiencing colder winters, shorter growing seasons, and the expansion of glaciers.

Purpose of the study

  • To understand the vegetation dynamics and hydro-climate variability from western ghats, the which is area influenced by both southwest summer monsoon (SWM) and northeast winter monsoon (NEM) during the last millennium.

Key findings of the study

  • Presence of moist conditions during the Little Ice Age (LIA) in the Western Ghats and due to increased northeast winter monsoon (NEM) influence.
  • Northward movement of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), positive temperature anomalies, increased sunspot numbers and high solar activity could be driving the climate change and increased South West Monsoon.
  • Weakest phase of the Indian Summer Monsoon across the Indian subcontinent during the LIA, was to the southward shift of the ITCZ, resulting from increased northward energy flux across the equator, during a cold northern hemisphere.