The Pleistocene Glacial Cycles and Millennial-Scale Climate Variability

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelfagfællebedømt


The Pleistocene glacial cycles are the most prominent climate variations over the past three million years. They are the climatic response to variations in the incoming solar radiation, insolation, due to the deviations of the Earth's orbital configuration from the perfect Keplerian orbit is caused by the influence of the other planets in the solar system. This climatic response to astronomical forcing is highly non-linear, which is most pronounced expressed in the changing duration of the glacial cycles through the Middle Pleistocene Transition around a million years ago, where the duration of glacial cycles changed from 40 kyr to approximately 100 kyr without any corresponding changes in the astronomical forcing. In the late Pleistocene glaciations, the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets have grown larger than before, causing an increased cooling through the ice-albedo feedback, which makes it harder with increased insolation to cause deglaciation. The cold climate with extended glaciations has also made the climate more unstable, where strong millennial-scale oscillations related to changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation are observed in the paleoclimatic records.

TidsskriftAtmosphere - Ocean
Sider (fra-til)233-244
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 17 jun. 2022

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