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Science. 1976 Dec 10;194(4270):1121-32.

Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages.

Abstract

1) Three indices of global climate have been monitored in the record of the past 450,000 years in Southern Hemisphere ocean-floor sediments. 2) Over the frequency range 10(-4) to 10(-5) cycle per year, climatic variance of these records is concentrated in three discrete spectral peaks at periods of 23,000, 42,000, and approximately 100,000 years. These peaks correspond to the dominant periods of the earth's solar orbit, and contain respectively about 10, 25, and 50 percent of the climatic variance. 3) The 42,000-year climatic component has the same period as variations in the obliquity of the earth's axis and retains a constant phase relationship with it. 4) The 23,000-year portion of the variance displays the same periods (about 23,000 and 19,000 years) as the quasi-periodic precession index. 5) The dominant, 100,000-year climatic [See table in the PDF file] component has an average period close to, and is in phase with, orbital eccentricity. Unlike the correlations between climate and the higher-frequency orbital variations (which can be explained on the assumption that the climate system responds linearly to orbital forcing), an explanation of the correlation between climate and eccentricity probably requires an assumption of nonlinearity. 6) It is concluded that changes in the earth's orbital geometry are the fundamental cause of the succession of Quaternary ice ages. 7) A model of future climate based on the observed orbital-climate relationships, but ignoring anthropogenic effects, predicts that the long-term trend over the next sevem thousand years is toward extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.

PMID:
17790893
[PubMed]
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