SCC Volume 3.4
This paper addresses several issues concerning Milankovitch Theory and its relationship to paleoclimate data over the last 800,000 years.
The insolation is described physically as a time-dependent wave. It is analogous to an AM radio wave. Its wave-like nature is produced by the “beating” of the earth’s celestial motions on the solar irradiance (about 1,368 W/m2
) resulting in its complex time-dependent distribution over the earth’s surface. Each of the three celestial motions, precession, eccentricity, and obliquity, contributes a wave component to the insolation. Like ordinary waves, they can produce a beat-like structure through constructive and destructive interference. This description begs several questions. How large in magnitude is each of these wave components, and how do they interfere? Does the interference manifest itself in the paleoclimate data, and if so, how? Does the description of the insolation as a wave and its components have any predictive power for determining the reoccurrence and duration of interglacial and glacial peri- ods? The objective of this paper is to answer these questions.