Split westerlies over Europe in the early Little Ice Age

Hsun Ming Hu, Chuan Chou Shen, John C.H. Chiang, Valerie Trouet, Véronique Michel, Hsien Chen Tsai, Patricia Valensi, Christoph Spötl, Elisabetta Starnini, Marta Zunino, Wei Yi Chien, Wen Hui Sung, Yu Tang Chien, Ping Chang, Robert Korty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Little Ice Age (LIA; ca. 1450–1850 C.E.) is the best documented cold period of the past millennium, characterized by high-frequency volcanism, low solar activity, and high variability of Arctic sea-ice cover. Past studies of LIA Atlantic circulation changes have referenced the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), but recent studies have noted that LIA climate patterns appear to possess complexity not captured by an NAO analogue. Here, we present a new precipitation-sensitive stalagmite record from northern Italy that covers the past 800 years. We show that in the early LIA (1470–1610 C.E.), increased atmospheric ridging over northern Europe split the climatological westerlies away from central and northern Europe, possibly caused by concurrent Artic sea-ice reduction. With ongoing ice melting in the northern high latitudes and decreasing solar irradiance in the coming years, the early LIA may potentially serve as an analogue for European hydroclimatic conditions in the coming decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4898
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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