ice age

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ice age (plural ice ages)

  1. (sciences) A period of long-term reduction in the temperature of Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence of polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers.
  2. (colloquial) Any of several glacial periods (within a scientific ice age) marked by episodes of extensive glaciation alternating with episodes of relative warmth (interglacial).
    • 2003, Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, BCA 2003, p. 377:
      The cause of ice ages, Köppen decided, is to be found in cool summers, not brutal winters.