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# V Introduction

## V The Milankovitch Theory

V Processes
Eccentricity
Obliquity
Precession
V Quiz
INTRODUCTION
Milutin Milankovitch

V Serbian astrophysicist
V best known for developing one of the most
significant theories relating Earth motions and long-term climate
change
V dedicated his career to developing a mathematical theory of
climate based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar
Milutin Milankovitch
V built his theory from previous work done by J.A. Adhemar and
James Croll
 1842 - Adhemar explained glacial climate using only precession

 1864 - Croll wrote about orbital change and the ice of the Ice Ages
using both the eccentricity cycle and the precession cycle

## V being a mathematician, took Croll's work and set out to develop a

mathematical theory of climate change

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The Milankovitch Theory
V an explanation of long term climate change

V it states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun,
cyclical variations in three elements of Earth-sun geometry
combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that
reaches Earth
Three elements:

1. Eccentricity

BACK
2. Obliquity
. Precession

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ECCENRICITY
V is a term used to describe the shape of Earth's orbit around the sun
V variation of Earth's orbit around the sun ranges from 0.0005 to
0.0607
V time frame for the cycle is approximately 98,000 years
V impact of the variation is a change in the amount of solar energy
from perihelion to aphelion
V at present, Earth's eccentricity is 0.016
V about 6.4 percent increase in insolation from July to January

SWF
ECCENRICITY

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OBLIQUITY
V the variation of the tilt of the earth's axis away from the orbital plane
V varies between 22.1o and 24.5o and the average is 2.5o

## V changes on a cycle taking approximately 40,000 years

OBLIQUITY
V as this tilt changes, the seasons become more exaggerated
 "the more tilt means more severe seasons - warmer summers and colder
winters; less tilt means less severe seasons - cooler summers and milder
winters." (Kaufman, 2002)
V an increase of 1o in obliquity, the total energy received by the
summer hemisphere increases by approximately 1%
V currently the motion is 1.4 km/century as the obliquity decreases -
46.85 inches/century

SWF
OBLIQUITY

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PRECESSION

## V the change in orientation of the Earth's rotational axis

V the cycle takes about 19,000 - 2,000 years
V two factors:
 a wobble of the Earth's axis

##  turning around of the elliptical orbit of the

Earth itself
PRECESSION
V it affects the direction of the Earth's axis
 the change in the axis location changes the dates of perihelion and
aphelion

##  currently, the Earth is closest to the sun in the northern hemisphere

winter
V another consequence of precession is a shift in the celestial poles
 5000 years ago the North Star was Thuban in the constellation Draco

##  currently the North Star is Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor

SWF
PRECESSION
V Milankovitch was able to formulate a comprehensive
mathematical model that calculated latitudinal
differences in insolation and the corresponding
surface temperature
V assumed that radiation changes in some latitudes
and seasons are more important to ice sheet growth and decay than
those in others
 summer insolation at 65 degrees North as the most important latitude
and season to model
V correlation of the three variations
V for about 50 years, Milankovitch's theory was largely ignored
V 1976 - a study published in the journal Science examined deep-sea
sediment cores
 Milankovitch's theory did in fact correspond to periods of climate
change

## ...orbital variations remain the most thoroughly examined mechanism of climatic

change on time scales of tens of thousands of years and are by far the clearest case of a
direct effect of changing insolation on the lower atmosphere of Earth.

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