In defense of Milankovitch
Article first published online: 21 DEC 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 24, December 2006
How to Cite
2006), In defense of Milankovitch, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817.(
- Issue published online: 21 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 21 DEC 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 NOV 2006
- Manuscript Received: 9 AUG 2006
- ice age;
- ice volume
 The Milankovitch hypothesis is widely held to be one of the cornerstones of climate science. Surprisingly, the hypothesis remains not clearly defined despite an extensive body of research on the link between global ice volume and insolation changes arising from variations in the Earth's orbit. In this paper, a specific hypothesis is formulated. Basic physical arguments are used to show that, rather than focusing on the absolute global ice volume, it is much more informative to consider the time rate of change of global ice volume. This simple and dynamically-logical change in perspective is used to show that the available records support a direct, zero-lag, antiphased relationship between the rate of change of global ice volume and summertime insolation in the northern high latitudes. Furthermore, variations in atmospheric CO2 appear to lag the rate of change of global ice volume. This implies only a secondary role for CO2 – variations in which produce a weaker radiative forcing than the orbitally-induced changes in summertime insolation – in driving changes in global ice volume.