Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geologist connects regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in climate

Date:
April 6, 2010
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
In an analysis of the past 1.2 million years, a geologist examining ocean sediment cores has discovered a pattern that connects the regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in the Earth's climate.

New ocean sediment core research reveals a pattern that connects the regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in the Earth's climate.
Credit: iStockphoto/Duncan Walker

In an analysis of the past 1.2 million years, UC Santa Barbara geologist Lorraine Lisiecki discovered a pattern that connects the regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in Earth's climate.

The finding is reported in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Lisiecki performed her analysis of climate by examining ocean sediment cores. These cores come from 57 locations around the world. By analyzing sediments, scientists are able to chart Earth's climate for millions of years in the past. Lisiecki's contribution is the linking of the climate record to the history of Earth's orbit.

It is known that Earth's orbit around the sun changes shape every 100,000 years. The orbit becomes either more round or more elliptical at these intervals. The shape of the orbit is known as its "eccentricity." A related aspect is the 41,000-year cycle in the tilt of Earth's axis.

Glaciation of Earth also occurs every 100,000 years. Lisiecki found that the timing of changes in climate and eccentricity coincided. "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," said Lisiecki. "It is unlikely that these events would not be related to one another."

Besides finding a link between change in the shape of the orbit and the onset of glaciation, Lisiecki found a surprising correlation. She discovered that the largest glacial cycles occurred during the weakest changes in the eccentricity of Earth's orbit -- and vice versa. She found that the stronger changes in Earth's orbit correlated to weaker changes in climate. "This may mean that the Earth's climate has internal instability in addition to sensitivity to changes in the orbit," said Lisiecki.

She concludes that the pattern of climate change over the past million years likely involves complicated interactions between different parts of the climate system, as well as three different orbital systems. The first two orbital systems are the orbit's eccentricity, and tilt. The third is "precession," or a change in the orientation of the rotation axis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lorraine E. Lisiecki. Links between eccentricity forcing and the 100,000-year glacial cycle. Nature Geoscience, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo828

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Geologist connects regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133707.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2010, April 6). Geologist connects regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133707.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Geologist connects regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133707.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins