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Two ice core temperature records; the Eemian is at a depth of about 1500–1800 meters in the lower graph
CO2 concentrations in Earth's atmosphere

The Eemian was the last interglacial period of the Pleistocene. It began about 130,000 years ago, and ended about 115,000 years ago at the beginning of the last glacial period.[1][2]

The Holocene is the present interglacial.

The Eemian is part of the Middle Paleolithic. It is of some interest to the evolution of "anatomically modern" humans. Modern humans existed at that time.[3]

Other names[change | change source]

The Eemian is known as the Ipswichian in the UK, the Mikulin interglacial in Russia, the Valdivia interglacial in Chile and the Riss-Würm interglacial in the Alps. Depending on how a specific publication defines the Sangamonian Stage of North America, the Eemian is equivalent to either all or part of it.

Climate[change | change source]

The Eemian climate was, on average, about 1° to 2°C (1.8° to 3.6°F) warmer than that of the Holocene.[4] During the Eemian, the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 280 parts per million.[5]

To give an idea of how warm it was, in Britain hippos were in the Thames and other rivers, and elephants were on land.[6][7] There are bones of large mammals under Trafalgar Square in London. The interglacial used to be called the "Trafalgar Square stage", and sometimes still is.[8][9]

References[change | change source]

  1. Dahl-Jensen, D.; Albert, M. R.; Aldahan, A.; Azuma, N.; Balslev-Clausen, D.; Baumgartner, M.; Berggren, A. -M.; Bigler, M.; Binder, T.; Blunier, T.; Bourgeois, J. C.; Brook, E. J.; Buchardt, S. L.; Buizert, C.; Capron, E.; Chappellaz, J.; Chung, J.; Clausen, H. B.; Cvijanovic, I.; Davies, S. M.; Ditlevsen, P.; Eicher, O.; Fischer, H.; Fisher, D. A.; Fleet, L. G.; Gfeller, G.; Gkinis, V.; Gogineni, S.; Goto-Azuma, K.; et al. (2013). "Eemian interglacial reconstructed from a Greenland folded ice core" (PDF). Nature. 493 (7433): 489–94. Bibcode:2013Natur.493..489N. doi:10.1038/nature11789. PMID 23344358. S2CID 4420908.
  2. Shackleton, Nicholas J.; Sánchez-Goñi, Maria Fernanda; Pailler, Delphine; Lancelot, Yves (2003). "Marine Isotope Substage 5e and the Eemian Interglacial" (PDF). Global and Planetary Change. 36 (3): 151–155. Bibcode:2003GPC....36..151S. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0921-8181(02)00181-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  3. Human mitochondrial DNA and the evolution of homo sapiens. Berlin: Springer. 2006. p. 233. ISBN 978-3-540-31789-0. OCLC 262692230.
  4. "Current & Historical Global Temperature Graph".
  5. "Earth is the warmest it's been in 120,000 years". Mashable. 2018.
  6. Stuart A.J. 1974. Pleistocene: history of the British vertebrate fauna. Biological Reviews 49, 225–266.
  7. Stuart A.J. 1976. The history of the Pleistocene fauna during the Ipswichian/last interglacial in England. Phil. Trans. Royal Society B. 276, 221–250.
  8. Stuart A.J. 1982. Pleistocene vertebrates in the British Isles. London, Longmans. ISBN 9780582300699.
  9. Franks J.W. 1960. Interglacial deposits at Trafalgar Square, London. The New Phytologist 59 (2): 145–150.