10 ways Earth was super different during the Ice Age

By admin
08 May 2015

Our planet has been through five Ice Ages, the most recent having occurred more than 10 000 years ago. In what ways were the planet different during the past Ice Age?

Our planet has been through five Ice Ages, the most recent having occurred more than 10 000 years ago. Here are ten seriously cool (pardon the pun) ways the planet different during the past Ice Age?

1. During the Ice Age the polar regions were covered by ice and snow and temperatures were so low nothing could survive there. The North Pole was far more extensive than today – large parts of Canada, America and northern Europe were under snow. In Antarctica the ice also reached much further than today. In total some 30 percent of Earth’s surface was under snow compared with only 10 percent today.

2. There ere many more glaciers on the planet during the Ice Age than today. Some of the glaciers were the size of continents and covered vast areas of the Earth. The glaciers also altered the landscape through erosion. As so much water gets trapped in glaciers, ocean levels were up to 125 m lower than today!

3. There was less running water during the Ice Age than today. Rainfall was much reduced and with so many more glaciers around there was less water on Earth’s surface.

4. It was much colder, of course, during the past Ice Age than today. Average temperatures were 5-10 degrees Celcius lower than today.

5. Temperature differences between the poles and equator were bigger. The colder at the poles, the warmer at the equator. When the Earth is not in an Ice Age, the temperatures differ much less.

6. The large expanses of ice and snow meant that the Earth reflected much more sunlight than today. Instead of absorbing the heat of the sun, it’s reflected back into the air and so contributes to the colder temperature.

 7. During an Ice Age rainfall is much lower than we’re used to these days – it could be as much as 50 percent less.

8. The wind blew more during the Ice Age than today. Dust storms were also more common as the wind collected a lot of dust in the larger desert and glacier areas.

9. The mammals of the Ice Age were larger and had a lot more hair than the mammals of today. Their coats made it possible for them to withstand the freezing temperatures. Scientists referred to these mammals as megafauna – which included the mammoth, saber-toothed cat and the dire wolf.

10. During the Ice Age people lived very differently to how we live today. They lived in hunter-gathered goups, in shelters created out of mammoth bones and wearing clothes of animal fur. Their hunting gear consisted mostly of stone knives, arrows and spears and they often caught large animals by setting traps where they waited to overwhelm the creatures

For more exciting facts about the Ice Age be sure to visit the Ice Age Exhibition website, proudly brought to you by Huisgenoot, YOU and Drum.

Ice age

Sources: SCRIPPS.UCSD.EDU, PBS.ORG, LIVESCIENCE.COM, BBC.CO.UK, GEOLOGY.UTAH.GOV, WIKIPEDIA.ORG, DYNAMICAL PALEOCLIMATOLOGY; GENERALIZED THEORY OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE (2002, BARRY SALTZMAN)

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