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The reconstructed depth of the Little Ice Age varies between different studies (anomalies shown are from the 1950–80 reference period)
The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1565

The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period (Medieval Climate Optimum).<ref name="Emmanuel1971">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> While it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939.<ref name="Matthes1939">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }} Matthes described glaciers in the Sierra Nevada of California that could not have survived the hypsithermal, in his opinion; his usage of "Little Ice Age" has been superseded by "Neoglaciation".</ref> It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries,<ref name="Mann2003">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="Lamb1972">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }} (noted in Grove 2004:4).</ref><ref name="NASA Glossary">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}.</ref> or alternatively, from about 1300<ref name="miller2012" /> to about 1850,<ref>Grove, J.M., Little Ice Ages: Ancient and Modern, Routledge, London (2 volumes) 2004.</ref><ref>Matthews, J.A. and Briffa, K.R., "The 'Little Ice Age': re-evaluation of an evolving concept", Geogr. Ann., 87, A (1), pp. 17–36 (2005). Retrieved 17 July 2015.</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.<ref name="NASA Glossary" /> The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report considered the timing and areas affected by the LIA suggested largely independent regional climate changes, rather than a globally synchronous increased glaciation. At most there was modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during the period.<ref name="Was there a “Little Ice Age” and a “Medieval Warm Period”?">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Several causes have been proposed: cyclical lows in solar radiation, heightened volcanic activity, changes in the ocean circulation, an inherent variability in global climate, or decreases in the human population.


Mini-ice age sections
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