Synchronization Of The Climate System To Orbital Eccentricity Insolation And The 100ky Problem | 12064
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change
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The ?100ky problem? (1ky=1000 years) of the astronomical theory of the ice ages questions how the almost negligible ~100ky
eccentricity forcing could power the ten massive glaciations of the last million years while the stronger ~400ky eccentricity
forcing is nearly absent from the proxy records. Further, the astronomical theory does not explain how, without change in forcing,
climatic oscillations switched from 41ky to 100ky at the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT) 1.2 million years ago (1.2 Ma), or
what caused the strong climatic response at the marine isotope stage (MIS) 11, the presence of power at frequencies absent in
the external forcing, or the timing of glacial terminations. To resolve these inconsistencies many explanations have been put
forward, from internal climatic oscillations without external forcing to external forcing other than the Milankovitch cycles, but
the ultimate cause(s) remain elusive. I will introduce a unifying explanation that resolves all the above inconsistencies through a
single process: nonlinear synchronization of the climate system?s internal oscillations to the eccentricity forcing. Synchronization
is a fundamental nonlinear phenomenon and one basic mechanism of self-organization in complex system. The evidence suggests
that after at least four million years of slow evolution, the climate system first synchronized to eccentricity at ~1.2Ma and has
remained synchronized ever since. Synchronization powered the late Pleistocene glaciations, forced the frequency switch at the
MPT, and caused the strong short-lived response at the MIS11 (~400ka).
Jose A. Rial is Professor of geophysics and climatology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the
California Institute of Technology. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Director of the Wave
Propagation Laboratory at UNC?s Department of Geological Sciences.
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