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Can we expect an ice age to start every 36,500,000 days or so?

While the battle for what's right and wrong roars on concerning climate change as a whole, it seems that many small observations are left to collect dust while politicians and activists concentrate on their own immediate problems. It can seem overwhelming at times when science-fact is pushed into a corner because it doesn't help support a growingly concerned (or unconcerned) community. Nevertheless, these data and observations are important in the long term to help climate scientists and geologists understand how the Earth changes over millennia and how those changes are affecting the current climate.

Some great finds have made their way into 
DailyTech's news reel already this year. In January, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research published findings that suggested tiny geological formations could be responsible for regulating the entire North American region. In February, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute released data that suggested Greenland's rapid glacial retreat is being at least marginally affected by warm subtropical waters making their way along currents all the way into the country's fjords. These findings suggest that at least one part of the northern hemisphere's climate is controlled more than partially by ocean systems.

This week, University of California, Santa Barbara geologist Lorraine Lisiecki has presented information linking long-term climate cycles more closely with Earth's ~100,000 year orbital cycle. And not only does the information suggest quite clearly that ice ages are an effect of these cycles, it shows that how adversely the orbit changes inversely affects the climate change. The idea that the planet's orbit is a large or ultimate factor in the rise and fall of ice ages is not new, however, the study shows a very strong connection between hard data and theory.

"The clear correlation between the timing of the change in orbit and the change in the Earth's climate is strong evidence of a link between the two. It is unlikely that these events would not be related to one another," explains Lisiecki.

The data correlates the climate change to two different aspects of the Earth's orbit around the sun as well as its own rotational oscillations. The first is the Earth's orbital eccentricity, or how elliptical/circular the orbit is. The second is its inclination, or the angle of its path compared to the solar orbital mean. The planet's rotational precession, or how the planet wobbles around its own rotational axis, is the third contributing factor in Lisiecki's study.

While this evidence strongly suggest patterns of climate due to local astronomy, Lisiecky does not solely attribute the cyclical changes to her findings. She stresses that these kinds of total climate changes are most likely a complicated interplay between the astronomical system and the Earth's own weather and more immediate systems. Further, the inverse relationship between the strength of climate change and the change in orbital pattern suggest that the overall system simply isn't that easy to decipher.

Lisiecki used climate data for the last 1.2 million years collected from 57 separate ocean sediment cores in her study. With this data she discovered the correlation between orbit and climate. Her full findings have been published in this week's edition of 
Nature Geoscience.

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By cochy on 4/7/2010 9:26:51 AM , Rating: 5
You mean to tell me Earth's climate system is a complex mix of many variables??!

No it's not. Our climate is clearly regulated only by the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. Orbit shmorbit. Have you not seen Al Gore's hockey stick graph?

RE: Huh??
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 9:31:30 AM , Rating: 4
No but I saw an AnaLogism comparing the frequency that Al Gore farts with the contribution to methane (a global warming agent) to the atmosphere. Apparently, the more gas he produces, the worse off we are.

Per Al Gore's reasoning and crusade, for that matter, the only solution is the removal of Al Gore.

Oh well, I guess we should get started with that.

RE: Huh??
By R3T4rd on 4/7/2010 9:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
I knew it! My Ex-Girlfriend said she didn't want to be with me because I pollute the environment too much and she needed someone who cared for the environment. Damnit I didn't understand then but now I do. Well I guess I'll have to go to my Family's campground/personal waste site, sit infront of the greenish plastic fire I make every year and reflect on why I consume soo much beans and eggs - ofcourse after I hunt all those criters and bears within 500yrds of the campsite. By the way, I dug a 100ft hole next to the campsite near the towns drinking water and I pour all my used oil, anti-freeze, and various weird liquid into. Its my way of giving it back to mother nature. I wish my Ex-Girlfriend can see me now. Reflect boys....reflect!!

RE: Huh??
By jonmcc33 on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Huh??
By ClownPuncher on 4/7/2010 12:41:49 PM , Rating: 5
Whaaaa? I find myself feeling dirty defending Bush, but what the hell are you on about?

RE: Huh??
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 1:03:38 PM , Rating: 5
The only president to use nuclear weapons was a Democrat, and the president who brought us closest to global nuclear war was a Democrat as well ... yet among the uneducated, the myth of the "nuke happy Republican" still persists.

RE: Huh??
By abel2 on 4/8/2010 3:27:29 PM , Rating: 4
It was horrible to have to use the nuclear weapon, but ~250k dead vs. the potential millions that would've followed seems like good math to me. Pretty sure any president would've done that, regardless of which party they hail from.

And the mere presence of nuclear weapons has potentially saved many more millions that would've resulted in all the following wars.

RE: Huh??
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 1:43:24 PM , Rating: 4
You're right, we do need Obama-care. It is like daycare for the ignorant.

Ugh, what a mess we are all in.

RE: Huh??
By Ammohunt on 4/7/2010 2:46:48 PM , Rating: 3
This is a bunch of crap! Capitalism has no affect on the earths orbit so in no way can this cause climate change! Only the evil corporations corporating warms the earth.

RE: Huh??
By AnnihilatorX on 4/7/2010 4:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Guys you need to look at the time scale of the cycles, it's 100000 years. This is climate change but it is not the same climate change you guys had been arguing all along whether it is anthropomorphic or not. The author did mention in her own words:

(So will this be ammunition for climate change sceptics?)

"I hope it's not used in that way," she says. "We're talking about processes over more than a million years, and the results can't be used on that timescale."
source - TG daily

This is a different cycle altogether and is impossible to relate that to the recent climate change in the past 50 years

RE: Huh??
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 4:47:20 PM , Rating: 3
That's the obligatory "I have to say I respect AGW or I can't get published" statement. The fact remains this does have significance for the current global warming debate, in a number of ways.

The most important connection is that many climate scientists have refused to link Milankovitch cycles to climate despite the correlation, because the solar insolation changes associated with such a minor orbital change are negligible. For a connection to exist, it means that very minor insolation changes can trigger large responses in climate. Follow that so far?

Here's the rub. The entire basis for calculating the climate sensitivity to CO2 is based on the assumption that most post-industrial warming is due to that, and not the (very small) measured changes in insolation. So the Milankovitch correlation challenges the primary tenet of AGW.

There are other connections, but they're more technical, so I won't go into them here. Suffice to say, this is yet another blow to AGW orthodoxy.

RE: Huh??
By Grabo on 4/8/2010 9:15:03 AM , Rating: 2
Match: "Al Gore", post#1.

Suggestion: Cease reading bits about the environment posted at Dailytech. Spend some time listening to a recording that goes "" instead.

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