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.
In this study the global average surface temperature over the past 2 million years has been derived from deep sea cores. The results reveal that global cooling occurred about 300,000 years before the rapid ice sheet growth and the development of the first 100,000-year glacial/deglacial cycle about 800,000 years ago.
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.
It is known that orbital forcing is involved in glacial/deglacial cycles but is insufficient by itself to explain the glacial/deglacial cycles. This study argues that a biological feedback mechanism kicks in when a threshold is reached and together with orbital forcing results in the sustained and rapidly increasing CO2 and surface temperature of a deglaciation.