Origin and Mechanism of Large-Scale Climatic Oscillations

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Science  26 Sep 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4464, pp. 1477-1482
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4464.1477


Numerical experiments with a simplified thermodynamic model of the glacier-ocean-atmosphere global system have been performed. Characteristic regimes of the system are auto-oscillations with periods varying between 20,000 and 80,000 years. The longer climatic waves are generated by the influence of variations of the earth's orbital parameters. Computed changes of glacial area, temperature, sea level, and other climate characteristics have values within expected ranges. The transition from a relatively warm epoch (when continental ice sheets are absent) to conditions characteristic of the Pleistocene is modeled. The calculated curves show how weak temperature fluctuations have been followed by large-scale oscillations.