The Ice Age is a long period of the earth’s history, when most of the planet was covered with ice. But why did this period end? Scientists have studied this issue and come to several conclusions.
One reason is the change in the Earth’s orbit. As Ohio State University geology professor Ralph J. Stevenson explains:
“Changes in the Earth’s orbit lead to a change in the amount of solar radiation that we receive on the Earth’s surface. This could lead to climate change and, therefore, to the end of the ice age.”
Another reason is the change in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists have found that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased during the Ice Age. As Colorado State University geology professor Jim White explains:
“Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means it traps heat in the atmosphere. So when carbon dioxide levels rise, it could lead to higher temperatures on Earth and thus the end of the Ice Age.”
Finally, scientific research has shown that changes in the earth’s crust and mantle may also play a role in the end of the ice age. As University of Maryland geology professor Richard Abbott explains:
“Changes in the Earth’s crust and mantle could lead to changes in tectonic plates, which could lead to climate change and thus the end of the Ice Age.”
In general, the last ice age ended due to a complex combination of factors that led to climate change on Earth. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the climate change that’s happening today. As the proverb says:
“Prevention is better than cure.”
“Studying past ice ages helps us better understand how the Earth’s climate works. But we also need to take into account the changes that are happening today and take action for a more sustainable future for our planet,” says Lisa Sloan, professor of geology at California State University.