Ice Ages

Jane Francis, Richard Corfield and Carrie Lear join Melvyn Bragg to discuss ice ages, periods when a reduction in the surface temperature of the Earth has resulted in ice sheets at the Poles. Although the term ‘ice age’ is commonly associated with prehistoric eras when much of northern Europe was covered in ice, we are in fact currently in an ice age which began up to 40 million years ago. Geological evidence indicates that there have been several in the Earth’s history, although their precise cause is not known. Ice ages have had profound effects on the geography and biology of our planet.

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  • Jane Francis 8 episodes
    Professor of Paleoclimatology at the University of Leeds
  • Richard Corfield 10 episodes
    Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University
  • Carrie Lear No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Palaeoceanography at Cardiff University

Reading list

  • Architects of Eternity
    Richard Corfield (Headline Book Publishing, 2001) Google Books →
  • Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery
    J. Imbrie and K. P. Imbrie (Harvard University Press, 1986) Google Books →
  • Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages
    Doug Macdougall (University of California Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Earth's Climate: Past and Future
    William F. Ruddiman (W. H. Freeman, 2007) Google Books →
  • Snowball Earth
    Gabrielle Walker (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2004) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. 20,000 years ago, much of Northern Europe was covered in thick ice.