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For the most recent period much colder than present and with significant glaciation, see Last glacial period. Although it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature «dating no sex»;3;13;1402;0 François E. The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming.

Evidence from mountain glaciers does suggest increased glaciation in a number of widely spread regions outside Europe prior to the twentieth century, including Alaska, New Zealand and Patagonia. 2007 discusses more recent research, giving particular attention to the Medieval Warm Period. 1 kyr than was apparent in the TAR. The result is a picture of relatively cool conditions in the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries and warmth in the eleventh and early fifteenth centuries, but the warmest conditions are apparent in the twentieth century. The last written records of the Norse Greenlanders are from a 1408 marriage at Hvalsey Church, now the best-preserved of the Norse ruins.

There is no consensus regarding the time when the Little Ice Age began, but a series of events before the known climatic minima has often been referenced. In contrast, a climate reconstruction based on glacial length shows no great variation from 1600 to 1850 but strong retreat thereafter. 1650 for the first climatic minimum. The Little Ice Age ended in the latter half of the 19th century or early in the 20th century. The Little Ice Age brought colder winters to parts of Europe and North America. Farms and villages in the Swiss Alps were destroyed by encroaching glaciers during the mid-17th century. Sea ice surrounding Iceland extended for miles in every direction, closing harbors to shipping.

The population of Iceland fell by half, but that may have been caused by skeletal fluorosis after the eruption of Laki in 1783. In his 1995 book the early climatologist Hubert Lamb said that in many years, «snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today. The violin maker Antonio Stradivari produced his instruments during the Little Ice Age. The colder climate is proposed to have caused the wood used in his violins to be denser than in warmer periods, contributing to the tone of his instruments.

Historians have argued that cultural responses to the consequences of the Little Ice Age in Europe consisted of violent scapegoating. Oster and Behringer argue that this resurgence was brought upon by the climatic decline. Prior to the Little Ice Age, «witchcraft» was considered an insignificant crime and victims were rarely accused. Historians have argued that Jewish populations were also blamed for climatic deterioration during the Little Ice Age. Christianity was the official religion of Western Europe, and within these populations there was a great degree of anti-Semitism. In addition to blaming marginalized groups and individuals, some populations blamed the cold periods and the resulting famine and disease during the Little Ice Age on general divine displeasure. Oppressed groups, however, took the brunt of the burden in attempts to cure it.

William James Burroughs analyses the depiction of winter in paintings, as does Hans Neuberger. Burroughs asserts that it occurred almost entirely from 1565 to 1665 and was associated with the climatic decline from 1550 onwards. The famous winter landscape paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, such as The Hunters in the Snow, are all thought to have been painted in 1565. Burroughs says that snowy subjects return to Dutch Golden Age painting with works by Hendrick Avercamp from 1609 onwards.

There is then a hiatus between 1627 and 1640, before the main period of such subjects from the 1640s to the 1660s, which relates well with climate records for the later period. Neuberger analysed 12,000 paintings, held in American and European museums and dated between 1400 and 1967, for cloudiness and darkness. His 1970 publication shows an increase in such depictions that corresponds to the Little Ice Age, peaking between 1600 and 1649. Paintings and contemporary records in Scotland demonstrate that curling and ice skating were popular outdoor winter sports, with curling dating back to the 16th century and becoming widely popular in the mid-19th century.