RUSSIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES VOL. 5, NO. 2, PAGES 125–143, doi:10.2205/2003ES000116, 2003

Modern climatic data for the Pleistocene: Implications for a new concept of the orbital theory of paleoclimate

V. A. Bol'shakov

M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Geography Department, Moscow, Russia


[1]  Based on analysis of paleoclimate data for the Pleistocene (and the Phanerozoic as a whole), this paper advances a new concept of the orbital (astronomical) theory of paleoclimate. The need for a new concept is shown to be necessitated by two circumstances. The first is the grave disagreement between the M. Milankovitch theory and empirical data. The second is the considerable drawbacks of this theory, which is currently viewed as being analogous to the astronomical theory of paleoclimate. In particular, the paper shows that the insolation curves calculated by Milankovitch for individual latitudes and caloric half-years (not to mention months or even days, as in the works of Milankovitch's followers) have no global paleoclimatic significance and cannot be used in paleoclimate reconstructions or modeling. Notions developed in the framework of the new concept provide a systematic basis on which to explain the singularities of climate changes coupled to orbital periodicities during the different geologic eras of the Phanerozoic. For example, proposed is a systematic approach to solving the issues of the 100-ka climatic periodicity of the Pleistocene, the mid-Pleistocene transition, and the lack of the 400-ka climatic periodicity within the last two million years.

Received 17 March 2003; published 18 February 2003.

Keywords: Pleistocene, climatic data, orbital theory of paleoclimate, Milankovitch theory.

Citation: Bol'shakov, V. A. (2003), Modern climatic data for the Pleistocene: Implications for a new concept of the orbital theory of paleoclimate, Russ. J. Earth Sci., 5, No.2, 125-143, doi:10.2205/2003ES000116.

Copyright 2003 by the Russian Journal of Earth Sciences
Powered by TeXWeb (Win32, v.2.0).