Scientists analyzed ocean plankton fossils and climate models to determine how cold Earth was at the last Ice Age’s depths when colossal ice sheets covered most of the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
A Lot Colder!
The average global temperature among the Last Glacial Maximum from approximately 19,000 to 23,000 years ago was 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 degrees Celsius), about 13 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) colder than 2019, the researchers revealed on Wednesday.
Some regions were colder than the global average, they said.
The polar regions were always colder than the tropics, with the Arctic region registering 25 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) less than the global average.
The researchers based their calculations with the help of chemical measurements on small fossils of zooplankton ant the preserved structures of fats from other varieties of plankton that vary based on water temperature, a phenomenon known as a “temperature proxy.”
Processing The Data
The information was inserted into climate model simulations to determine average global temperatures.
Jessica Tierney, a paleoclimatologist from the University of Arizona, and lead author of the research posted in the journal Nature stated:
“Past climates are the only information we have about what really happens when the Earth cools or warms to a large degree. So by studying them, we can better constrain what to expect in the future.”
During the Ice Age, which lasted approximately a hundred thousand years, the planet was populated by large mammals well adapted to colder climates like mammoths, wooly rhinos, saber-toothed cats, and mastodons!
The Ice Age marked the first time humans entered Noth America, crossing a land bridge that connected Alaska to Siberia.
That was possible, thanks to the sea levels that were much lower than they are currently.