August 26, 2014 Leave a comment
A team of scientists and climbers has recently been investigating the North Face and snowfields of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland. They are discovering neve, a dense pack of ice and snow that is the first stage in the formation of glaciers. If the neve survives the summer, ablation turns it into firm which is denser and then glacial ice. In addition to the neve, scientists found sheets of snow weighing hundreds of tons and fissure tunnels known as bergschrunds. While these features are common in alpine and artic climates, they are very unusual in the UK. The presence of year-round ice can cause a positive feedback loop, lowering the temperature in the surrounding area and leading to more snow. Eventually,according to WUWT, the process is how ice ages begin. According to the BBC, there were glaciers present in Scotland between 1650 and 1790. This period, a portion of the Little Ice Age, saw shortened growing seasons and political unrest in Europe as the result of brutal winters and snows that lasted well into the spring.
The drop in temperatures that have caused the snowpack may be caused by a lack of solar activity. The current solar cycle, which began in 2008, has seen half the number of sunspots that scientists expected. Another diminished solar period, called the Maunder Minimum, occurred between 1645 and 1715. In addition, Iceland is experiencing conditions that may lead to volcanic eruptions, another factor that caused the Little Ice Age. If all these things come together, Europe as well as North America may be moving into a period of very cold and brutal winters. In the case of Europe, this means even more reliance on Russia for natural gas. It may also cause Russia to continue its expansionist push for Ukraine areas further south to control farmable land. One wonders what mental gymnastics will be required as these natural processes continue to spin their progression as both the result of man and controllable by government.