Ice age

An artist's impression of ice age Earth at glacial maximum.

An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth's climate alternates between ice ages and greenhouse periods, during which there are no glaciers on the planet. Earth is currently in the ice age called Quaternary glaciation.[1] Individual pulses of cold climate within an ice age are termed glacial periods (or, alternatively, glacials, glaciations, glacial stages, stadials, stades, or colloquially, ice ages), and intermittent warm periods within an ice age are called interglacials or interstadials.[2]

In glaciology, ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in the northern and southern hemispheres.[3] By this definition, Earth is in an interglacial period—the Holocene. The amount of anthropogenic greenhouse gases emitted into Earth's oceans and atmosphere is projected to delay the next glacial period, which otherwise would begin in around 50,000 years, by between 100,000 and 500,000 years.[4][5][6]

  1. ^ Ehlers, Jürgen; Gibbard, Philip (2011). "Quaternary glaciation". Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. pp. 873–882. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_423. ISBN 978-90-481-2641-5.
  2. ^ Cohen, K .M.; Finney, S. C.; Gibbard, P. L.; Fan, J.-X. "International Chronostratigraphic Chart 2013" (PDF). ICS. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  3. ^ Imbrie, J.; Imbrie, K. P. (1979). Ice ages: solving the mystery. Short Hills NJ: Enslow Publishers. ISBN 978-0-89490-015-0.
  4. ^ Thomson, Andrea (2007). "Global Warming Good News: No More Ice Ages". LiveScience.
  5. ^ "Human-made climate change suppresses the next ice age". Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. 2016. Archived from the original on 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  6. ^ Archer, David; Ganopolski, Andrey (May 2005). "A movable trigger: Fossil fuel CO2 and the onset of the next glaciation". Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 6 (5). Bibcode:2005GGG.....6.5003A. doi:10.1029/2004GC000891. S2CID 18549459.

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