Related topics: carbon dioxide · climate change · glaciers · climate

Scientists discover ancient seawater preserved from the last Ice Age

Twenty thousand years ago, in the thick of an Ice Age, Earth looked very different. Because water was locked up in glaciers hundreds of feet thick, which stretched down over Chicago and New York City, the ocean was smaller—shorelines ...

Climate change has long-term impact on species adaptability

Historic climate change events can have a lasting impact on the genetic diversity of a species, reveals a new study published in Current Biology. This unexpected finding emerged from an analysis of the alpine marmot's genome.

Study: Aegean farmers replaced hunters of ancient Britain

A wave of migrants from what is now Greece and Turkey arrived in Britain some 6,000 years ago and virtually replaced the existing hunter-gatherer population, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature.

Tectonics in the tropics trigger Earth's ice ages, study finds

Over the last 540 million years, the Earth has weathered three major ice ages—periods during which global temperatures plummeted, producing extensive ice sheets and glaciers that have stretched beyond the polar caps.

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Ice age

The general term "ice age" or, more precisely, "glacial age" denotes a geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in an expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Within a long-term ice age, individual pulses of extra cold climate are termed "glaciations". Glaciologically, ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in the northern and southern hemispheres; by this definition we are still in an ice age (because the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist).

More colloquially, when speaking of the last few thousand years, "the" ice age refers to the most recent colder period (or freezing period) with extensive ice sheets over the North American and Eurasian continents: in this sense, the most recent ice age peaked, in its Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago. This article will use the term ice age in the former, glaciological, sense: glacials for colder periods during ice ages and interglacials for the warmer periods.

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