How the landscape during the last Ice Age may have looked, with mammals like the woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros

Ice age

The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different. Firstly, lots of the world's water was turned to ice, so precipitation was low: Europe received roughly half the rainfall it gets today, mostly in the summer months. Globally, summer temperatures were 4-8 Celsius colder than today. In some places, the winter temperatures were 15-20 Celsius cooler than today's, making ice age Florida more like modern Quebec. Wind speeds were higher and dust storms were common as the wind picked up material from enlarged deserts and glacier margins. The ice age was at its most extreme - and the climate at its most severe - 18,000 years ago.

BBC News about Ice age

  • Carbon emissions 'defer Ice Age' The next Ice Age is due within 1,500 years, researchers calculate - but greenhouse gas emissions mean it will not happen then.