El Niño may have caused famine in medieval Europe

A new study by a team of scientists from the University of Miami finds that El Niño and La Niña may have caused cooling in the central Pacific, leading to drought in medieval Europe.

The experts studied fossil coral, tree-rings and sediment cores for the time period 1320 to 1462 to evaluate medieval climate conditions. According to their findings, "the study period was preceded by three years of torrential rains, which led to the Great Famine from 1315 to 1320, and marked the transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age, which began in the mid 1500s. During that time, extreme weather conditions were thought to be responsible for continued localized crop failures and famines throughout Europe during the remainder of the 14th Century."