Greenland and the Medieval Warm Period

Amongst all the debate, sometimes, just sometimes, messages that run contrary to the global warming scare penetrate even in the most ‘green’ of countries and in a ‘green’ media outlet. A story from Spiegel online manages to break one of the great taboos of the global warming scare, when discussing the abandonment of the Viking colony in Greenland. I will quote some excerpts that grabbed my attention:

The descendants of the Vikings had persevered in their North Atlantic outpost for almost 500 years, from the end of the 10th century until the mid-15th century. The Medieval Warm Period had made it possible for settlers from Norway, Iceland and Denmark to live on hundreds of scattered farms along the protected fjords, where they built dozens of churches and even had bishops.


As the research shows, hunger could hardly have driven the ancestors of the Vikings out of their settlements on the edge of the glaciers. The bone analyses prove that, when the warm period came to an end, the Greenlandic farmers and ranchers switched to a seafood-based diet with surprising rapidity. From then on, the settlers focused their efforts on hunting the seals that appeared in large numbers off the coasts of Greenland during their annual migrations.

When settlement began in the early 11th century, only between 20 and 30 percent of their diet came from the sea. But seal hunting played a growing role in the ensuing centuries. “They ate more and more seal meat, with the animals constituting up to 80 percent of their diet in the 14th century,” explains team member Jan Heinemeier, a dating expert from the University of Aarhus, in Denmark.

His fellow team member Niels Lynnerup, an anthropologist and forensic scientist at the University of Copenhagen, confirms that the Vikings of Greenland had plenty to eat even as the climate grew colder. “Perhaps they were just sick and tired of living at the ends of the earth and having almost nothing but seals to eat,” he says.

One can imagine the catastrophic warming advocates spluttering into their coffee as the heresy is absorbed. Medieval warm period? But surely that was long ago banished by Saint Michael Mann? Sadly for the alarmists, it seems that the archaeologists and historians investigating this are simply not on message.


Apologies: This post originally had Iceland in the title. Oops.


28 responses to “Greenland and the Medieval Warm Period

  1. Well I get confused about this too. I thought the general message was that the MWP “was not global”, allowing for regional artifacts like Greenland and Iceland.

    I have personally visited the medieval village ruins at Houndtor in Devon (Dartmoor)
    It is quite hard to imagine people living in such an inhospitable place, as it is now, yet there are signs of extensive animal husbandry up there.

    It is an interesting topic, but unfortunate that it also seems to have become part of the PC baggage of the climate wars

  2. Ah, the typical straw men from the science-haters.

    The MWP did exist, but it was not global. It’s as simple as that.

    Why the constant barrage of lies, science deniers? I don’t get it.

    • Perhaps you should read these before saying it is a straw man argument, as there have been considerable attempts to have the MWP forgotten from alarmists:

      It seems you are relatively new to the debate over climate change. If you had been following the debate for a long time, you would be aware that the MWP was the focus of the debate, and that the aim was to banish the MWP from mention. For example, see the Hughes paper here:

      And if you think this is a non-issue, there are still attempts to refute the MWP:

      Not really a straw man. Instead, one of the key issues. The trouble has always been that the evidence was simply too strong; thus the argument that it was only local:

      If you look at the history of this, you will find that the sands subtly shifted when it was impossible to remove the MWP.

      • Oh dear, even more straw men, red herrings and general dishonesty from the denier who laughably calls himself a “skeptic.”

        First you spew the nonsense from David Deming, associate professor of Arts and Sciences. Deming rejects Natural Selection, by the way (although surprisingly, he does not subscribe to climate denial’s twin ideology, Intelligent Design Creationism).

        Then you apparently think that HuffPo is a scientific journal. Never mind the fact that it doesn’t even refute the MWP. It simply points out that recent research shows that it wasn’t that warm, and it was not global.

        And since you link to a hit piece on William Connolley, here he exposes your blatant lies about the MWP:

        And of course you use the notorious liar and kook Anthony Watts as a source. Never mind the fact that the paper he quotes in your last link specifically says “regional cold and warm periods.”

        Regional. Understand the concept?

        Your desperate lies are getting more and more pathetic.

        The MWP did exist, but it was not global. It’s as simple as that.

        Why the constant barrage of lies, science deniers? I still don’t get it.

        Next you’ll be linking to some nonsensical drivel by AIDS denier Monckton, I guess.

        • You really are an extremely rude individual. I wonder if you would be so rude if talking to someone in person? I think not…your aggression is probably limited to the Internet…

          As usual, you resort to ad hominem attacks.

          I do not think that the Huffington Post is a scientific journal, but the article is reporting on research from a scientific journal. It is also a medium that promotes the alarmist position.
          You do not address the fact that Connolley deleted any mentions of the MWP – why? Why did he do so if this is a straw man?
          I use Anthony Watts because it is a useful summary of the activity of Connolley, and he quotes from a press release on Mann’s work. Again, you attack the person, not what they have written.

          As for the ‘regional’ this is a quote from the press release for Mann’s work, where he is conceding the MWP existed, but where it is purported to be regional. I use this to point to the shifting sands of the alarmist position. It seems you cannot understand what I have written, or rather choose not to. You make no mention of the symposium I referenced. I would add more, but it is pointless, as nothing would ever shift your view, and you will just resort to ad hominem attacks, regardless of the source.

          • LOL, your blatant lies and anti-science propaganda is getting worse by the hour.

            A bogus claim that Connolley deleted any mention of MWP combined with rabid, crazy, braindead paraoia and dishonesty.

            And of course, your complete ignorance of how science works. If the facts show that MWP is regional, then that’s what the scientists report.

            You have failed to show that anyone’s position on MWP has changed, though. And particularly changed without any reason whatsoever.

            Of course, to a science hater, changing your position if the facts show that to be the right thing is a sign that science doesn’t work. Because a religious zealot like you will cling to your superstitious beliefs no matter what.

          • Actually, your propaganda piece is not a good summary at all. What happened was that Connolley used some harsh words to put an idiot denier who was vandalizing AGW related article in his place.

            For this, he was punished. Instead of punishing the vandal, the guy who used harsh words against the vandal was punished.

            I notice that one of your pathetic hit pieces claim that Connolley has been “manipulating” Wikipedia more than 5000 times. That’s just pathetic. He has more than 5000 edits, and he has reiceved credit for making good edits. You are just exposing your own dishonesty and desperation by claiming that every single one of his edits was wrong.

            Typical denialist.

  3. As anyone with more than half a brain can now see, the denialist who runs this sorry excuse for a blog is lying through his teeth when he makes claims about “considerable attempts to have the MWP forgotten.”

  4. As anyone with more than half a brain can still see, the manipulative science denier who runs this blog continues to spew his blatant lies.

    For example: His “evidence” that there are “considerable attempts to have the MWP forgotten” involve a paper which specifically mentions the regional nature of MWP.

    How extremely dishonest can a science denier be? Just look at this denier, and his creationist friends.

    • No, really! Writing an entire paper on MWP is part of “considerable attempts to have the MWP forgotten”! You can’t make this shit up. Deniers in a nutshell.

      • Did your mother never teach you about bad language? I hate to not allow comments. I have put up with your ugly and aggressive language as you serve as an illustration of how you are bereft of anything intellingent to say, but continued swearing will see your future comments deleted where this takes place.

        After wathching your comments over the recent period, I am not sure that you serve as an exemplar of the worst kind of warmist debate, but more as a caricature. For those who see these comments, I am not sure that this commenter is even representative of the extreme fringes of the debate. I suspect that he has some kind of deep flaw, and this is an outlet for his whatever that might be. I would not want those whose views I oppose to be associated with this degree of rudeness, and intolerance. Sure, there is some ugly language from the catastrophic AGW side, but this individual plumbs new depths.

        • I notice that you completely fail to address the point I’m making.

          Any new readers will no doubt notice that.

          • No, they will notice your aggressive and foul language.

          • Maybe, but they will also notice how you dodge the issue, and how your lies and constant manipulation have been exposed.

          • Most people are intelligent enough to understand my posts and comments. I need say nothing more.

          • Yes, I think that is your problem. Most people are intelligent enough to realize that you are lying through your teeth, with such golden moments as claiming that writing an entire paper on MWP is part of “considerable attempts to have the MWP forgotten.”

  5. Thanks for your useful insights. mr Snerker. It has been a wonderful journey of discovery, enlightenment, and profundity.

  6. In my experience, believers like Snerky are also believers in the hockey stick graph. They believe there was a “stable” climate until the 20th century so any evidence of change is taken to be evidence that humans are causing this change. My problem is I have seen too many studies that show lots of variation. (

    My conclusion, after looking at the evidence, is that the climate has been quite stable for the last 10000 years. The small 0.7 deg C warming of the 20th century is part of that stable period. The 10000 years before that show a much larger variation. (

    • Yawn.

      They believe there was a “stable” climate until the 20th century

      Creationist, climate deniers and other science deniers always use straw men and lies. Always.

      Obsessing over the hockey stick is typical of deniers, just like creationists are obsessing over various stuff related to Evolution.

      It seems that climate deniers are so amazingly ignorant they think the hockey stick is the evidence the entire AGW theory rests on. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the hockey stick is a red herring. It allows science haters to focus on irrelevant nonsense instead of addressing the real issues.

      • Do you think that the Hockey Stick is irrelevant nonsense? That is the impression get from you comment.

        By the way, I do agree with you that the hockey stick does not affect the underlying AGW hypothesis, although it might take some of the edge of the alarm. The Hockey Stick Illusion does make this point, and Mosher and Fuller, authors of “The CRUTape Letters” are very much in this camp (i.e Lukewarmers)

        • The hockey stick is not irrelevant nonsense. It is verified science. The irrelevant nonsense is that creationists, I mean, climate deniers, keep obsessing over it, as if they think that the graph is the very foundation of AGW.

          “The Hockey Stick Illusion” is just another nonsensical, trashy hit piece full of the same old creationist, I mean, climate denier lies.

          • I didn’t find the Hockey Stick Illusion remotely trashy, but then I have actually read it.

            The followup, “Hiding the Decline” is quite good too

  7. It is ironic that some people think Global Warming Skeptics are like Creationists.

    An Argument from Authority is when someone says “Something is true because an authority states it.”

    Creationists and Global warming believers both use argument from authority.


    The Creationist says “It is true because it is in the Bible.” or “It is true because God said so.”

    The Global Warming believer says “It is true because the UNIPCC assessment report says so.” or “It is true because there is a scientific consensus.”

    Neither of these are valid arguments since experts are sometimes wrong.

    So a sensible person asks for more evidence.

    An argument from ignorance is when someone says “I do not know how A could have happenned unless it was caused by B”.

    Creationists and Global warming believers both use argument from ignorance.


    The Creationist says “I do not know how life can have evolved as the result of natural processes. It must be the product of a supernatural creator.”

    The Global Warming Believer says “I do not know how to explain the warming that happenned in the 20th century as the result of natural processes. It must be the product of humans’ actions.

    Arguments from ignorance are invalid because there are always an infinite number of possible explanations. Just because one explanation is wrong does not mean another must be right.

    A strawman argument is where you falsely label your opponent’s position. You build a strawman that is easily demolished.

    Creationists and Global Warming Believers both use strawman arguments.


    Creationists use a strawman argument when they say “Evolution is only a theory.” In fact, evolution is a process and Evolutionary Theory is the collection of information we use to help us understand that process.
    Physists study Electrical Theory and yet nobody says “Electricity is only a theory.”

    Global Warming believers use a strawman argument when they say “Climate change skeptics deny there has been climate change.”
    The truth is, skeptics do not doubt the climate changes. They question how important is CO2 compared to the many other causes of change.

    • All of your claims are easy to refute. Global warming is real because the research shows it’s real. The consensus simply reflects the collective judgment of the science within the field. Funnily enough, creationists, too, claim that there is no consensus on Evolution.

      And you are correct when you point out that creationists use straw man arguments, exactly like climate deniers are. You are guilty of them yourself:

      1. The conclusion that the warming is caused by humans is not because we don’t know what caused it, but because the facts show that it is human emissisons that is causing it. Creationist-like straw man #1 from you.

      2. No one is claiming that deniers don’t think there has been climate change. Indeed, climate deniers are quick to point out climate change in the past, as if that is unknown (straw man #2). In other words, your accusation of a straw man is a straw man in itself. Straw man #3.

      So as you can see, the climate denier is the one who is like a creationist. Insists that the science is bogus. Insists that scientists are cheating. Spews straw man arguments. Constantly appeals to false authorities like Duane Gish (creationists) or Anthony Watts (climate deniers), claiming that they know better than the actual scientists in the field. Constantly misrepresent the science. And so on.

      Look at who claims the science is wrong: Creationists and climate deniers.

      Case closed. Checkmate.

  8. Pingback: Ice Sheets May Be More Stable Then Thought - Page 5 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

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