A New Study Explores The Lowest Temperatures During The Ice Age

A team of researchers surveyed ocean plankton fossils and complicated climate models to calculate the lowest temperatures that could have been encountered during the Ice Age. Massive ice sheets were spread across the continents within the timeframe.

During the Last Glacial Maximum, between 23,000 to 19,000 years ago, the average global temperature reached 7.8 degrees Celsius (or 46 degrees Fahrenheit), which is lover by 7 degrees Celsius ( or approximately 13 degrees Fahrenheit) in comparison to the values recorded in 2019.

Cool zones

In select regions, the temperature was considerably lower than the global average, with one obvious example being the polar regions, where the temperature was lower by 14 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) in comparison to the global average. Even today, the North and South Poles remain colder even if the global temperature continues to rise.

The calculations were made by making special chemical tests that involved zooplankton fossils and the way in which they preserved fats collected from other types of plankton, which is a reliable temperature proxy. The resulting information was used for climate model simulations, which could calculate the global temperature.

Temperatures of the past

By learning more about past temperatures, researchers can understand what happens when major climate changes take place on Earth and anticipate some of the events that could be encountered in the future and which may have large-scale influence over the world.

During the last Ice Age, which lasted from 115,000 to 11,000 years ago, large mammals were adapted to cold climate as mammoths, woolly rhinos, and saber-toothed cats dominated many regions. North America was reached by humans for the first time within the timeframe as a large natural bridge linked Siberia to Alaska. For early humans, Central Alaska seemed like a great place for settlements.

The study was published in a scientific journal.

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