In 1611, Galileo Galilei and other astronomers noticed there were fewer sunspots on the sun, and the coldest part of what?s known as the Little Ice Age began shortly after. Now NASA scientists have learned how that reduced solar activity chilled much of the Earth by changing the atmospheric circulation of the Northern Hemisphere from the 1400s into the early 18th century.

During the Little Ice Age, access to Greenland was cut off by ice, ending the Viking colonization there, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Londoners ice-skated on the Thames and glaciers advanced down the Alps.
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