Little Ice Age as a suitable reference point for the warming of the last 150 years? The case of Mont Blanc
By Uli Weber
(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)
On October 29 television station ARTE broadcast the documentary “Laboratory Mont Blanc“ (94 Min.). It’s available at Arte.tv until November 6, 2016. The description at ARTE:
On a 6-day expedition three scientists climbed the Mont Blanc, which is considered the heart of the European Alps. At approximately 4810 meters tall the ‘white giant’ is a natural wonder of nature. Climbing the large mountain is a unique experience and is considered as a look at the past 240 million years of evolution…”
Of course the problem in the documentary all gets back to man-made climate change. Yet between the 37 minute and 45 minute marks, we found some rational documentation: The Mont Blanc glacier had retreated just as much during the Medieval times as much it has today. Back then a small town near what today is Chamonix (Le Chatelard?) was covered in 1643 by the Mer de Glace (sea of ice) glacier and destroyed. In 1860 – the end of the Little Ice Age – the Mer de Glace reached its greatest extent, which is documented by photos and other means.
Since then the Mer de Glace has been in retreat, as the following satellite photo from Google-Maps clearly shows:
Also other sources report of glacier advance during the Little Ice Age, e.g. the Blog History of Geology on October 8, 2016:
… In the year 1644 in the Mont Blanc region, a procession to the glacier was organized at the village Les Bois because supposedly it had advanced to only 120 meters away from the village and it was threatening. The bishop of Geneva blessed the Les-Bois-glacier personally…“
Wikipedia on the Mer de Glace, quote:
„… Earlier the glacier flowed over a steep part and into the valley of Chamonix, and right up to the settlement Les Bois. This part of the glacier was named the Glacier des Bois and used to be an attraction of old Chamonix. At the elevation of Montenvers the glacier used to be 130 meters thicker than today. Crossing the right bank was free of trouble. People even drove the herds of sheep over it…“
It is most astonishing that the mean temperature at the end of the Little Ice Age (usually 1850, but in the ARTE documentary 1860) gets misused as the “natural” yardstick for measuring our current warming, and thus used as proof of a “man-made” global warming – even though that it is clearly shown by the ARTE documentary and without a doubt as simply part of the ongoing natural cycle since the Medieval time.