At the height of the last glaciation ice grew over 12,000 feet thick. Large sheets of ice spread across Russia, Scandinavia, Canada, and even South America. The corresponding seawater level dipped more than 400 feet. Temperatures across the globe plunged around 12 degrees Celsius on an average and nearly 40 degrees in some regions. Some coastal regions in North America were dotted with prairie grasslands and pine forests. These are today associated with Canada and the northern US states.
Among the stranger Ice Age facts are the mini ages that emerged between the larger ones. They were less devastating but nonetheless caused disease and famine because of failed crops and other bad side effects. The latest minor Ice Age was between 12th and 14th century. But the worst was between 1500 to 1850. The northern hemisphere became extremely cold, seas froze regularly, and mountainous countries like Switzerland experienced advancing glaciers, crushing villages. Continuous years had no summers. Scientists are still researching what caused these intermittent Ice Ages.
Some of the Ice Ages could have been quite warm. While the ground was covered with ice, the weather was much pleasant. Ice Age history has revealed that events leading up to the era were so severe that the atmosphere became full of greenhouse gases, and along with the sun’s rays, heat up the planet. But ice still formed as thick pollution may have bounced off the solar rays back to space. The earth was, what the scientists term, a “Baked Alaska” desert.
Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions have contributed to the current problem of global warming and the next Ice Age may not happen after all. The theory that an Ice Age repeats itself at regular intervals, regardless of the odds, is unlikely to be true in future. According to a Cambridge University research, though the planetary cycle jump-starts Ice Age once in millions of years, the only way it comes, is when carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is exceptionally low. But humans may have actually prevented the Ice Age forever by pumping out more carbon dioxide over the past few centuries.
Research into Ice Age facts have revealed that herbivores, like mammoths, fed on the grassland areas that could withstand the glacial subzero temperatures. The grazing ground of these animals bustled with the type of plants that grew under dry and cold circumstances. The vegetation was probably like what we see in Siberia today. But the actual plants were different. There are very little Ice Age facts about how the flora could adapt and survive in those harsh conditions. Plants that failed to adapt, migrated via seeds, or became extinct.
Foodie, lazy, bookworm, and internet junkie. All in that order. Loves to floor the accelerator. Mad about the Himalayas and its trekking trails. Former life forester. Also an occasional writer and editor