What evidence best supports the Milankovitch hypothesis?

1 Answer
Mar 22, 2016

Evidence supporting Milankovitch’s theory of the precise timing of the ice ages first came from a series of fossil coral reefs that formed on a shallow ocean bench in the South Pacific during warm interglacial periods.

More evidence followed, when scientists started to analyze the paleoclimate evidence in the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores, they found that the record also supported Milankovitch’s theory of when ice ages should occur.


Milankovitch proposed that the changes in the intensity of solar radiation received from the Earth were affected by three fundamental factors: eccentricity, obliquity and precession.

1) Eccentricity this the change or warping of earth orbit. In a period of about 100,000 years the nearly circular orbit of the Earth will change into a more elliptical orbit.
2) Obliquity, in a period of about 41,000 years the Earth's axis tilt varies between 21.5 and 24.5 degrees.
3) The final factor precession, has a period of approximately 23,000 years where the Earth's axis wobbles like a spinning top

Milankovitch proposed that these regular cycles of the Earth, change the Earth's relationship to the Sun, impacting the Earth's climate, and generating hot and cold cycles.