Research NewsPaleoclimatology

Upstart Ice Age Theory Gets Attentive But Chilly Hearing

Science  11 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5323, pp. 183-184
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5323.183

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For decades, researchers thought the ice ages were driven by cyclical changes in the elliptical shape of Earth's orbit about every 100,000 years. But on page 215, a new theory suggests a different mechanism: changes in the inclination of Earth's orbit relative to the plane of the solar system that dip the planet into a climate-altering cloud of cosmic dust.