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Confirms what I’ve been saying all along.


“The idea that slight shifts in Earth’s axis might have been enough to trigger the ice ages is a century old,” says this article in the Daily Mail.

“But a Harvard earth sciences Professor Peter Huybers has finally proved it, using computer models to test competing ideas – and finding that earth’s tilting axis is the only one that works.”

In a paper published in the journal Nature, Huybers points out that the way in which the Earth’s axis of rotation spins controls our climate. The process involves two cycles, one lasting about 10,000 years, the other roughly 40,000 years.

When the two cycles align ‘correctly’, the glaciers retreat rapidly, says Huybers.  At the other extreme, glaciers advance.

Precession of the Equinoxes - Copyright Robert W Felix

‘These periods of deglaciation saw massive climate changes,’ Huybers said. ‘Sea level increased by 130 meters, temperatures rose by about 5 degrees C, and atmospheric CO2 went from 180 to 280 parts per million.’

Did you catch that? Temperatures rise, CO2 levels rise, and sea levels rise, all due to a NATURAL cycle!

‘We know with greater than 99 percent confidence that shifts in earth’s axis are among the factors that contribute to deglaciation,’ says Huybers.

Unfortunately, Huybers then veers into political correctness, saying that CO2 and increased summer radiation are ”both expected to push the climate system toward less ice.’

He does concede, however, that “it could also be that orbital forcing causes a rise is atmospheric CO2.”

Make sure you catch that one, too. “It could also be that orbital forcing causes a rise is atmospheric CO2.”

The Daily Mail article doesn’t explain the cycles,  so let’s see if I can help out.  I wrote about these cycles in Not by Fire but by Ice.

The idea that the shorter 10,000-year cycle could trigger an ice age has been around for centuries, but was refined by a young Serbian engineer by the name of Milutin Milankovitch. I wrote thusly:

In 1911, during a night of tippling with a friend (they downed several bottles of wine, he later admitted), his mind suddenly became expansive and bold. He decided to master the entire universe. He would develop a mathematical theory to describe the climates on Earth, Mars, and Venus, at different latitudes, at any time.

A tall order. No one had ever calculated the distribution of sun-light over the wobbling, tilting planets. Never mind that he had made his momentous decision with a mind perhaps a tad fuzzy, he pursued his new-found goal with single-minded devotion.

Due to the success of his calculations, the ice-age cycle, controlled by a totally natural process called equinoctial precession, is now known as the Milankovitch cycle. Every geology student in the world has probably heard of it. Here’s how I explain it:

Precession of the Equinoxes - Copyright Robert W Felix

Our axis of rotation wobbles like a top, tracing a clockwise circle around true north. Called axial precession, it takes about 25,800 years to complete the full circle.

Precession occurs, say scientists, because the sun and moon exert a gravitational pull on the earth’s equatorial bulge. Rotating objects such as tops and gyro­scopes also precess. So does Mars.

To understand this phenomenon, picture the globe spinning around a long stick (the axis of rotation). Tilted away from true north, the top of the stick traces a circle around the North Pole, while the bottom makes an identical trip around Antarctica.

As our axis of rotation moves, it constantly points toward a different star, painting an imaginary circle on the heavens. The process of painting that circle on the celestial ceiling is called precession of the equinoxes.

Sir Isaac Newton solved yet another aspect of the riddle. The earth’s orbit around the sun also revolves, said Newton. Our orbit revolves backward, or counter-clock-wise. Precession of the equinoxes, the time it takes to paint that imaginary circle on the heavens, therefore takes about 23,000 years. It’s like waiting for someone on a merry-go-round; you’ll reach them sooner if you walk toward them.

   Today when viewed from the northern hemisphere, the stars seem to rotate around Polaris, at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. That’s why it’s called the Pole Star, because the North Pole points toward it.

But in 2,000 B.C. the North Pole pointed toward a spot halfway between the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper. In 4,000 B.C. it pointed toward the end of the handle of the Big Dipper. Twelve thousand years from now it will point toward a different star, toward Vega, and in 23,000 years it will point toward Polaris again.

Except for Huybers’ contention that we’re headed for less ice (I think we’re headed for more), it’s heartening to see confirmation of what I’ve been saying all along.

See entire article:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2095571/Natural-tilts-earths-axis-alter-temperature-cause-ice-ages-says-Harvard-scientist.html

Thanks to Linda Binuti, Elise Philipp and Emma Corry for this link

 

 

47 Responses to Natural tilts in earth’s axis cause ice ages, says Harvard geophysicist

  1. John says:

    And where are we right now in that cycle???

    • Ken says:

      I doubt that science has spent anytime determining what cycle we are currently in. This theory of Natural Cycles was dropped long ago for the CO2 theory which was debunked in the 1940′s. Maybe it’s man made CO2 that causes the cycle’s to change??

      • Laurel says:

        yup thats it,, that nasty point oo39% also has MASS… and its sloshed to one side…but they didnt want to tell us and scare us…its all co2s fault.again..that usa judge almost gave the game away when he was worried the islands might tip over…
        sarc off:-)

  2. Elisabeth Popp Sambleben says:

    @John: I would like to know that too!!!

  3. David says:

    John…exactly what I was thinking.

  4. alex says:

    don’t forget that the sun activity is probably going to be low or even quiet, i think that counts too.

  5. Joseph says:

    In volcanic and solar proxy data, you always see low solar and high volcanic activity before and during Ice ages.
    This guy is totally FOS, he’s trying to take the sun out of the equasion.

  6. Joseph says:

    In fact the Sun is also the driver of the Volcanic activity, as changes in it’s wobble make the magma in the earth slosh around more violently during cold phases.

    Paper by the only person in the world who predicted the 23rd sunspot cycle correctly…http://www.griffith.edu.au/conference/ics2007/pdf/ICS176.pdf

    • Joseph says:

      “Paper by the only person in the world who predicted the 23rd sunspot cycle”This is an error via copy and paste so my apologies folk :)

    • Fran says:

      Interesting comment. I have noticed also a relation between cold periods and higher frequency of strong EQs on Earth. I’ll find some links and post a longer comment below.

      • Joseph says:

        Please do :)

        • Fran says:

          In agreement with your previous comment, in the last 500 years all the large eruptions of the following link (VEI 6-7)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_large_volcanic_eruptions
          have happened during periods of low solar cycles, except Mount Pinatubo.
          Also, the data from the Centennial Catalog of USGS
          http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/data/centennial.pdf
          clearly indicates a decrease in M7-8 EQs if we compare the 2nd half of the XX century (strong solar cycles) with the first half, with a marked decrease from the later 60′s up to 2000. In this century the large EQs have increased again *especially in the last 3 years*.
          The correlation with the strength of the solar cycles seems clear. Maybe the model you reported can give a hint to understand this a little better.

    • Fran says:

      Very interesting paper, thanks!
      The following researcher also did a good job in predicting SC#23, in terms of intensity and extension and what is already happening in SC#24, based on the analysis of the Wolf-Gleissberg cycles,

      http://www.virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

  7. George says:

    I too am interested to know where we are in the cycles, and is there any science in the ‘Jupiter effect’ when Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun, within an arc 95 degrees wide (180 yr. cycle)? It was conjectured that the combined gravitational pull of the planets would shift the sun over from a notional orbital centre of the solar system by, approximately, it’s diameter: if true would this have an affect upon the amount of solar radiation received by the planets.

  8. Scott says:

    I agree, why did they fail to report where we are in the cycle?

  9. Brad says:

    If I was to guess where we are in a cycle, id say we are heading back to glacial growth “now” then cooling then a ice age! the sun affects everything including the wobble and precessions.and the suns activity is caused by the planets rotations around the sun which influences its magnetic furnace!this also applies to other solar bodies and galaxies. When you feed a fire more wood, it fires up!give it no wood it dies down!

  10. Fran says:

    We should not forget about the central importance of the Sun and that temperature drives CO2 *not* the other way around.
    See, e.g., here

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/

    for a brief but very enlightening discussion of the first and analysis of the second.

  11. Joseph says:

    They’re failing to report it and acting like this previous knowledge didn’t exist because they’re still trying to take the sun out of the “climate” equation…
    So they can blame warming on CO2, and say “the sun doesn’t matter”.

  12. The scientist Rhodes Fairbridge looked at the Milankovitch cycles and decided they did not quite explain what is happening however the Solar Inertial Motion Hypothesis not only explains what is happening and why but is the only hypothesis that has correctly predicted everything that is happening now such as Cosmic Radiation, sun spots Total solar irradiance cloud formation suns magnetic field late and weak solar cycle cooling of the oceans and atmosphere sea level changes gravitational effects earythquakes volcanic activity and much more The sun rotates around the centre of gravity of the solar system and undergoes inertial motion and periods of acceleration and deacceleration although the sun holds 99 per cent of the mass of the solar system the planets hold 98 per cent of its angular momentum the sun is entering a dormant phase as predicted by Rhodes Fairbridge solar cycle 24 will have about one third the normal sun spots solar cycle 25 and 26 almost none the scientists livingston and penn have calculated sun spots are declining in magnetic field strength by around 50 guass a year such that they will drop below 1500 guass and be unable to form around 2015 to 2016 The best reference is 2007 special fifth edition of the australian journal of coastal research by Mackey on the life of Rhodes Fairbridge and the solar inertial motion hypothesis enjoy the read

  13. QuentinF says:

    I dont agree. I think Landsheidt is the one thats got it! Not the old axis theory. http://www.landscheidt.info/ graphs too good to pass up. Axis tilt is not enough.

  14. frank says:

    Man, this is some heavy stuff…I am on the side of robert thinking we are headed for much colder times… hopefully our insane leadership wises up before it is to late and millions die needlessly…

    • TomO says:

      It’s not out leadership that needs to wise up, Frank, it is those millions that you refer to that will die because of the increasing cold. THAT is the intent of “our leadership,” not to save us. They are unanimously in agreement that our planet has too great a human population. A few billion dying off in the onset of an ice age perfectly fits the bill of getting rid of “useless eaters.”

    • John the 1st says:

      Well after all it is indeed better to light a candle than curse etc etc. Make sure you and yours are taken care of. An ounce of prevention right?

  15. Rosco says:

    The really amazing thing is this is not news.

    We learnt about precession, Earth’s elliptical orbit, aphelion and perihelion, Ice ages and interglacials etc in high school before the science of “doom and gloom” CO2 bull**** took over everyone’s senses and the astronomy stuff quietly slipped away.

    As for global warming – well I believe it is completely natural BUT we are lucky the southern hemisphere summer occurs at perihelion at present thus exposing the oceans to the most sunlight and moderating northenr hemisphere winters.

    When the northern summer occurs at this time we can expect much more warmingthan currently observed.

    • Rosco says:

      Of course none of us will live to see the change I mentioned above.

      The other memory I have from the 70′s was that the tilt of the axis was approaching some sort of point – I can’t remember but I think the story went that it was approaching some form of limit and that we could expect to begin to see some sort of changes after it progressed beyond that point.

      Am I imagining this or can someone help me out ?

      • John the 1st says:

        I disagree. I believe we will see most of the changes you have mentioned. Ice ages seem to come on fast. Faster than most imagine. Remember the mammoths that were found with undigested food in their mouths and stomachs?

        • Fran says:

          Part of the “flash freezing” can be related to alterations of the Jet Stream, e.g.:
          “… UPDATE Feb 9 2012: … There have been some interesting observations in the last 2-3 weeks. The QBO entered its easterly phase at higher altitudes, 1.5 hPa zonal winds decreased sharply, NH polar ozone levels around 45km increased while the same region saw a drop in temperature, *THE AO WENT NEGATIVE WITH AN ABRUPT CHANGE IN JET STREAM BEHAVIOR THAT EUROPE IS NOW WITNESSING VIA SOME FAIRLY BRUTAL WEATHER.*…”

          http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/236

          I believe flash freezing could happen in many places already at the beginning of the Ice Age, although it would only reach full force after many centuries.

  16. James says:

    If I remember my Geo-101 and 102 correctly, Milankovitch also linked ice-ages to where our solar system is in relation to the galactic plane. He identified that our solar system moves in something like a sine-wave pattern, and that every 100,000 years we pass through the galactic plane. He also identified that the periods of major glaciation seem to align with this passing through the plane period. So I would be interested to find out where we are in that motion as well.

  17. John v. Kampen says:

    Take a look here too:
    http://hpiers.obspm.fr/ the “wobble” of which -apart from time differences- little effect is understood.

  18. Chuck says:

    Interesting. According to Wikipedia, the last glacial period ended 12,500 years ago. So if the cycle is 23,000 years, that means we are a little over halfway to the next glacial period. I guess it also means the earth will be cooling steadily until then?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_glacial_period

  19. Jim says:

    What other complications are involved in the changes in earth’s wobble over time? The earth is not a perfect sphere but slightly pear shape, so how does that change the wobble over time. Also the earth is not uniformily dense and the continents positioning on the earth’s surface are not uniform and slowly change over time. Stated a different way the earth is not perfectly balanced so how does that change the wobble? Large earthquakes can change slightly change the speed of earth’s rotation. How does this change the earth’s wobble over millions of years. Perhaps these flaws in earth’s balance are so slight that their influence is minuscule. On the otherhand minuscule changes can result in sudden unpredictable chaotic behavior that can’t be predicted. In short the dynamics of earth’s wobble is probably a lot more complicated than meets the eye.

    • Andrew says:

      Something to ponder! We can make a fairly educated assumption that the Antarctic continent was not in its current polar position when it was a verdant tropical environment. Something, in addition to plate tectonics has caused it to move into its current position. Will the accumulated ice & snow act as a counterweight to eventually cause it to shift more towards the Equator, thereby shifting the entire Earth into a new rotational position?

  20. Chuck says:

    Follow-up to my last comment:

    Although, according to that same Wikipedia article, the maximum extent of glaciation was about 18,000 years ago. If the glacial period ended 12,500 years ago, then I guess it follows that the glacial period from beginning to end lasted about 11,000 years. It also means, assuming a 23,000 year cycle, that we have actually now entered the next glacial period and we will reach glacial maximum in about 5,000 years. Assuming I can still add and subtract and that I read everything correctly.

  21. Joseph says:

    We all know the problems with Milankovitch (IE the 100,000 year problem)

    I contend that this clearly all fits better with Svensmark. The preliminary work a CERN may not have proved Svensmark but it did show that it indeed fits (like a glove), I expect the full results will indeed prove the cosmic ray connection is the prime determinant for climate. There are plenty of papers on the subject and a correlation like no other. Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy. This they did after presenting several half-billion-year histories of T, CRF, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations derived from various types of proxy data, and after finding that none of the CO2 curves showed any clear correlation with the T curves, suggesting to them that “CO2 is not likely to be the principal climate driver.” On the other hand, they discovered that the T trends displayed a dominant cyclic component on the order of 135 ± 9 million years, and that “this regular pattern implies that we may be looking at a reflection of celestial phenomena in the climate history of earth.”

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/Ice-ages/GSAToday.pdf

    Kirkby 2008 (director of the CLOUD experiment) rightly notes, “the question of whether, and to what extent, the climate is influenced by solar and cosmic ray variability remains central to our understanding of the anthropogenic contribution to present climate change.” Clearly, carbon dioxide is not the all-important dominating factor in earth’s climatic history. Within the context of the Holocene, the only time CO2 moved in concert with air temperature was over the period of earth’s recovery from the global chill of the Little Ice Age (the past century or so), and it does so then only quite imperfectly. The flux of galactic cosmic rays, on the other hand, appears to have influenced ups and downs in both temperature and precipitation over the entire 10-12 thousand years of the Holocene, making it the prime candidate for “prime determinant” of earth’s climatic state.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1938

  22. Joseph says:

    We all know the problems with Milankovitch (IE the 100,00 year problem)

    I contend that this clearly all fits better with Svensmark. The preliminary work a CERN may not have proved Svensmark but it did show that it indeed fits (like a glove), I expect the full results will indeed prove the cosmic ray connection is the prime determinant for climate. There are plenty of papers on the subject and a correlation like no other. Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy. This they did after presenting several half-billion-year histories of T, CRF, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations derived from various types of proxy data, and after finding that none of the CO2 curves showed any clear correlation with the T curves, suggesting to them that “CO2 is not likely to be the principal climate driver.” On the other hand, they discovered that the T trends displayed a dominant cyclic component on the order of 135 ± 9 million years, and that “this regular pattern implies that we may be looking at a reflection of celestial phenomena in the climate history of earth.”

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/Ice-ages/GSAToday.pdf

  23. Cole says:

    We all know the problems with Milankovitch (IE the 100,00 year problem)

    I contend that this clearly all fits better with Svensmark. The preliminary work a CERN may not have proved Svensmark but it did show that it indeed fits (like a glove), I expect the full results will indeed prove the cosmic ray connection is the prime determinant for climate. There are plenty of papers on the subject and a correlation like no other. Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy. This they did after presenting several half-billion-year histories of T, CRF, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations derived from various types of proxy data, and after finding that none of the CO2 curves showed any clear correlation with the T curves, suggesting to them that “CO2 is not likely to be the principal climate driver.” On the other hand, they discovered that the T trends displayed a dominant cyclic component on the order of 135 ± 9 million years, and that “this regular pattern implies that we may be looking at a reflection of celestial phenomena in the climate history of earth.”

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/Ice-ages/GSAToday.pdf

    Kirkby 2008 (director of the CLOUD experiment) rightly notes, “the question of whether, and to what extent, the climate is influenced by solar and cosmic ray variability remains central to our understanding of the anthropogenic contribution to present climate change.” Clearly, carbon dioxide is not the all-important dominating factor in earth’s climatic history. Within the context of the Holocene, the only time CO2 moved in concert with air temperature was over the period of earth’s recovery from the global chill of the Little Ice Age (the past century or so), and it does so then only quite imperfectly. The flux of galactic cosmic rays, on the other hand, appears to have influenced ups and downs in both temperature and precipitation over the entire 10-12 thousand years of the Holocene, making it the prime candidate for “prime determinant” of earth’s climatic state.

    • Joseph says:

      Must have a been a glitch with the website as it did not show up for moderation.Thank you Cole for adding as well :) Wish we could delete if we make a mistake.

    • Fran says:

      “…Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy…”.
      I tend to agree 100% with this idea. The models attributing Ice Ages and cycles to modulations produced by planetary/orbital influence *only* miss two important points: /1/ The strong oscillations that are present even *within* the full blown Ice Age periods and /2/ The fact that records indicate *no Ice Age*(!) before say ~ 1-2 millions ybp, or at least no 10k-90k pattern if we go very far in the past.
      It’s hard to believe that Earth’s orbit was not variable at that time or the Gas Giants were not “active” on the Sun the way they are now. The possible presence of an extra solar system *strong* factor (that could even involve the presence of Dark Matter) has not been correctly addressed by any model that I know of. (I’m not an expert in Climatology but I can read a paper).
      That’s is part of the problem. The other part is the gravitational model of the Sun and the solar system itself, which make much more difficult to consider the influence of the EM-weak field into the equation.
      In all these aspects and many others the beginning of a new Ice Age would help to put down some “inconvenient” myths that plague many branches of science now.

    • Fran says:

      “…Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy…”
      I tend to agree 100% with this idea. The explanation of Ice Ages in terms of orbital/planetary influences *only* fails to explain some important aspects of the cycles, e.g.: /1/ the existence of strong modulation even inside the full blown Ice Age periods, as well as modulations from one Ice Age to the next /2/ The data from ice cores indicate that before say ~ 1.5-2 million ybp, there were *no Ice Ages* or at least no 10k-90k pattern which started to show up some 700 k-1 million years ago.
      Of course, these modulations cannot be explained by variations in Earth’s orbit or the influence of the Gas Giants over the Sun, which would be the same now as they were then.
      Another point that IMO must be addressed is the excessive dependence of the astrophysical models on gravitation and relative neglect of EM-weak forces.

      • Fran says:

        sorry for the double posting!:-(
        my posts didn’t show up when the page refreshed and posted them again…

  24. John the 1st says:

    This was taught both at the high school level and in my college astronomy class back in the 80′s. I am stunned that so few people have heard of it, present company excluded. I brought this exact subject up at a xmas party this year and none of the individuals (all with sheep skins to their credit) had ever heard of it. They had all heard of the nonsense of agw though.

  25. Friend of Coal says:

    My Enviro Prof. always taught us to look at the entire picture, to conserve not preserve, and we to where taught about the Milankovitch Cycle, before all this other CO2 hog wash.

  26. Fran says:

    @Joseph & @Cole:
    “…Shaviv and Veizer (2003) suggested that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the variance in earth’s temperature (T) over the past 500 million years may be attributable to cosmic ray flux (CRF) variations due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy…”
    I tend to agree 100% with this idea. The explanation of Ice Ages in terms of orbital/planetary influences *only* fails to explain some important aspects of the cycles, e.g.: /1/ the existence of strong modulation even inside the full blown Ice Age periods, as well as modulations from one Ice Age to the next /2/ The data from ice cores indicate that before say ~ 1.5-2 million ybp, there were *no Ice Ages* or at least no 10k-90k pattern which started to show up some 700 k-1 million years ago.
    Of course, these modulations cannot be explained by variations in Earth’s orbit or the influence of the Gas Giants over the Sun, which would be the same now as they were then.
    Another point that IMO must be addressed is the excessive dependence of the astrophysical models on gravitation and relative neglect of EM-weak forces.


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