Evidence from Antarctic ice cores have revealed a close correlation between surface temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration for the past 800,000 years (excluding the immediate present.) A recent analysis of Antarctic blue ice has found that the close correlation between temperature CO2 extends to 1.5 million years ago during the time when the glacial/interglacial period was 40,000 years.
This seminal 1976 paper tested the Milnkovitch orbital forcing hypothesis by comparing the 450,000 year geological record of the climate as recorded in marine sediments with the cycle of variations in Earth’s tilt and orbit. The analysis finds clear evidence for orbital forcing in the marine sediment record, but the authors conclude that orbital forcing by itself is not able to explain the dominant 100,000 year glacial/deglacial cycle.
A seminal book by Milankovitch in 1941 proposed that the sequence of ice ages that has characterized long term changes in the Earth’s climate over the past hundreds of thousands of years was due to changes in the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth as a result of small variations in the Earth’s orientation and orbit with respect to the sun. Since then research has shown that Milankovitch cycles by themselves do not determine the timing of glacial and interglacial cycles and that we still lack a unified mechanism that links changes in Earth’s orbit to ice ages.
Based on the trend that greenhouse gases are increasing rapidly whereas solar irradiance is changing much more slowly, the evidence reveals that the climate impact of changes in solar irradiance are much smaller in magnitude than the increase in warming due to greenhouse gases.