Approximately 800,000 years ago something changed in the Earth’s climate system that led to the climate then following a series of approximately 100,000 year cycles. Small, predictable changes in the Earth’s orbit about the Sun act as triggers for the glacial and interglacial periods, but other factors such as ice sheet volume, CO2 concentration, and biological feedback mechanisms are also involved.
A recent study has created a simple mathematical rule that can account for the timing of the onset of interglacials following ice ages over the past three million years. The rule is based on predictable long-term astronomical variations in the Earth’s orbit and tilt called Milankovitch cycles.
A recent study, published in Nature, reports on how anonymized data from three quarter of a million global smart phones was used to detect and map physical inactivity around the world. The study is an outstanding example of the type of scientific analyses that is possible using human beings as sensors.
There is strong evidence of marked changes in temperature extremes across the contiguous United States – extreme cold waves have become less common while extreme heat waves have become more common and heavy precipitation events in most parts of the United States have increased in both intensity and frequency. That is the conclusion of a report prepared by scientists from NOAA, NASA and other agencies.