<snip>My gut feeling on this is that Albedo has been the climate change driver from 1700-ish on. GHGs are just now catching up in importance.
If more of the Earth's surface is reflecting more sunlight back into space (and dissipating heat more readily at nighttime as well), I would think that actually has a *larger* impact than changes in GHGs, which alter the distribution of heat retained by the Earth, not the overall amount of heat it actually takes in. The only things that can alter the latter are A) changes in the sun's output or B) changes in the Earth's reflectance/albedo.
More show fall means more light reflected back to space and more IR radiated to space. But there is a thread on albedo warming potential. In that thread the comment was made that snow early has less effect than snow late does. That is as it relates to Arctic sea ice loss.
I could see that being possible/likely.
But I would actually go back farther than 1700 in terms of GHGs/albedo impact. Not in weighing one more than the other, but in re-thinking our current knowledge of what caused the changes to the earth's climate.
I do not think it is coincidental that the Little Ice Age followed the largest period of human death in our species' history. This period followed three main events; the Mongol conquest and killing of much of Asia, the Black Death, and the discovery of the Americas with the consequent genocide of ~100 million people in that episode alone.
Combined, I think we can clearly see that depopulation was a major driver (or was likely a major driver) of the Little Ice Age. This was probably not just due to a reduction in GHG emissions; the changes to continental albedo must also have been fairly dramatic, and an ensuing uptick in forested areas (although relatively short term) would have also provided a massive carbon sink. Think of all the fields/etc that went fallow & sprouted trees after the people who had tended them for several centuries died of plague, Mongols, or smallpox. That is probably at least several percentage points of Earth's total land mass!
Traveling back further in time, the "Medieval Warm Period" followed the advances and innovations of both Rome and China, which also coincided with the population peak ~1250. And while we like to think of modern humans as some kind of exceptional race, we are anything but -- and this "exceptionalism" also applies to our preconceived notions re: GHGs and the Industrial Revolution (in that, 99.9999% of people believe that GHGs only became significant following the IR).
This is far from true. In fact, papers show that total atmospheric copper emissions from the Romans and Chinese were hugely impressive, and it would take until approximately 1850-1900 for modern emissions to equal that which was put out between 1,500-2,000 years ago! Techniques for industry were dirtier by orders of magnitude compared to today's processes, so even though they may have used less resources than we do today, their processes for extracting and refining were evidently adequate enough to rival the societies of ~1900 Europe in their total emissive capacities.
Going back even further, I suspect that while Milankovitch cycles may have been the primary climate driver pre-humans, early agriculture & late hunter-gatherer societies were equally transformative, and were the point at which humans overwhelmed the global system. The changes to planetary albedo began with the destruction of megafauna, and culminated with the advent of agriculture, both of which affected decent percentages of the planetary land surface despite very low human populations.
Somewhat of a digression, but I find the subject of pre-IR human-induced climate change extremely interesting, and when you consider the historical evidence/coincidences between the planet's climate and human society, it seems that the latter has led the former, and not vice versa.