Abstract: Milankovitch cycles -- orbital modulations in Earth's insolation -- are thought to pace ice ages over the last 2.6 million years, with dominant periods associated with changes in precession (~20,000 years) and obliquity (~40,000 years). While Milankovitch cycles have not changed over tens of millions of years, Earth's climatic response has. In particular, the Mid Pleistocene Transition (MPT), ~1 million years ago, is defined by an enigmatic shift between ice ages paced every ~40,000 to ~100,000~years. In this talk, we will explore solid Earth feedbacks (i.e., crustal rebound/subsidence) on the ice age system using a simple climate model that accounts for variation in the timescale of crustal deformation associated with changes to the length-scale of ice ages and duration of ice loading. We'll see that the impact of the feedback mechanism is significantly larger in the late Pleistocene relative to the early Pleistocene, and hypothesize that this sensitivity played a crucial role in driving the MPT.
Host: Prof. James Davis, Lamont Research Professor, Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics.
The Earth Science Colloquium Series, sponsored by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES), provides a lively forum for discussing a wide variety of topics within the Earth sciences and related fields. Colloquia are attended by the full range of scientific and technical staff at LDEO. Colloquium attendance is required of all pre-orals DEES graduate students. The Colloquium Series supports the Lamont Seminar Diversity Initiative.