Obliquity Pacing of the Late Pleistocene Glacial Terminations

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Obliquity Pacing of the Late Pleistocene Glacial Terminations

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Title: Obliquity Pacing of the Late Pleistocene Glacial Terminations
Author: Huybers, Peter John; Wunsch, Carl

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Huybers, Peter J., and Carl Wunsch. 2005. Obliquity pacing of the late Pleistocene glacial terminations. Nature 434: 491-494.
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Abstract: The 100,000-year timescale in the glacial/interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene epoch (the past ,700,000 years) is commonly attributed to control by variations in the Earth’s orbit. This hypothesis has inspired models that depend on the Earth’s obliquity (,40,000 yr; ,40 kyr), orbital eccentricity (,100 kyr) and precessional (,20 kyr) fluctuations, with the emphasis usually on eccentricity and precessional forcing. According to a contrasting hypothesis, the glacial cycles arise primarily because of random internal climate variability. Taking these two perspectives together, there are currently more than thirty different models of the seven late-Pleistocene glacial cycles. Here we present a statistical test of the orbital forcing hypothesis, focusing on the rapid deglaciation events known as terminations. According to our analysis, the null hypothesis that glacial terminations are independent of obliquity can be rejected at the 5% significance level, whereas the corresponding null hypotheses for eccentricity and precession cannot be rejected. The simplest inference consistent with the test results is that the ice sheets terminated every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity, similar to the original proposal by Milankovitch. We also present simple stochastic and deterministic models that describe the timing of the late-Pleistocene glacial terminations purely in terms of obliquity forcing.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature03401
Other Sources: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~phuybers/
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3382978

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