Friday, January 5, 2007

Milankovitch is spot-on

This looks like a very interesting article. From reading the abstract the author makes a logical argument that, with respect to Milankovitch forcing (The change in incoming solar radiation due to changes in how the Earth is situated relative to the sun), one should consider ice volume dynamics (changes in ice volume) rather than ice volume total. In doing so the Milankovitch forcing is revealed without lag (there is often thousands of years of lag between forcing change and equivalent ice volume change). The author also finds that variations in CO2 appear to lag the rate of change in ice volume which gives CO2 a secondary role in ice volume change.

This finding helps make sense of the role that orbital changes play in ice volume. Up to this point there has been some confusion since ice volume has not always followed orbital parameters with any consistency. With this finding we see that orbital parameters play a role in how quickly the ice volume changes.

That CO2 has a secondary role to orbital parameters has been known to climate scientists for some time. The role of CO2 has been considered one of a positive feedback to orbital parameters with increased warming form changes in solar energy leading to more CO2 which leads to more warming.

Further research:

The impact of this research on how understanding of climate sensitivity.

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS,VOL. 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817,2006

In defense of Milankovitch

Gerard Roe
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

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