Today’s rapid climate change is undoubtedly the result of greenhouse gases produced by humans. But extraordinary swings in our planet’s past climate have been caused by changes in its interior and influences from deep space.
In the winter of 1780, New York harbour froze over: people walked across the ice from Manhattan to Staten Island. Around the same time, the French invaded the Netherlands over frozen rivers, while - on a lighter note - Londoners held Frost Fairs on the iced-up River Thames (pictured).
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This was the period of the Little Ice Age. The world was then about one degree cooler than the average for the twentieth century.