Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...
of the Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...
's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheet
An ice sheet is a mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km² , thus also known as continental glacier...
s, polar ice sheets and alpine glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...
s. Within a long-term ice age, individual pulses of extra cold climate are termed "glacial period
A glacial period is an interval of time within an ice age that is marked by colder temperatures and glacier advances. Interglacials, on the other hand, are periods of warmer climate within an ice age...
s" (or alternatively "glacials" or "glaciations" or colloquially as "Ice Age"), and intermittent warm periods are called "interglacial
An Interglacial period is a geological interval of warmer global average temperature lasting thousands of years that separates consecutive glacial periods within an ice age...