Previously unknown link between Earth’s climate and orbital cycles discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — Climatologists have discovered a previously unknown 22,000-year climatic wobble associated with periodic changes in the distance between the Sun and the Earth, as well as changes in the roundness of the Earth’s orbit.

This orbital cycle affects the El Niño phenomenon and the climate of the equatorial Pacific regions.

“From the first grades of school, we know that the seasons of the year on Earth exist due to the inclination of its orbit.

There are other orbital parameters that affect the climate, including shifts in the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Our study showed that the effect of changes in this distance turned out to be much more important for the climate than was thought in the past,” said Anthony Broccoli, a professor at Rutgers University (USA), quoted by the UCB press service.

Professor Broccoli and his colleagues have discovered a previously unknown 22,000-year orbital cycle that plays an important role in the El Niño and La Niña climate phenomena.

Their activity, as well as periodic intensification and weakening, determine the temperature of the waters in the tropical and equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean and thus affect the climate of the entire planet.

Both of these phenomena, scientists explain, affect the Earth’s climate through the way they change the temperature of the so-called Pacific cold tongue, a powerful cold current that rises from the deep ocean off the coast of Central America and moves west along the equator.

When El Niño activates, this current becomes warmer than usual, and La Niña makes it colder.

Climate and orbit

In the past, scientists believed that almost all properties of the Pacific “cold tongue” were determined by the tilt of the Earth’s axis, that is, they depended solely on the change of the seasons of the year.

Professor Broccoli and his colleagues checked whether this is really so. They created a detailed model of the Earth’s climate, taking into account how it is influenced by the planet’s orbital parameters.

Calculations indicated that the temperature of this cold current and the behavior of El Niño and La Niña were influenced by two additional orbital parameters – the distance between the Sun and the Earth and the roundness of our planet’s orbit.

Their periodic shifts together form a previously unknown climatic fluctuation 22 thousand years long, which significantly affects the water temperatures in the Pacific “cold tongue”.

Subsequent calculations by the researchers indicated that the orbital cycle they discovered should significantly affect the nature of the movement of the monsoons and the distribution of heat over the Earth, in addition to the already discovered and studied factors that affect the operation of El Niño and La Niña.

Due to the current orbital configuration of our planet, the impact of this cycle is still minimal, but in the future or in the past its impact on the climate was more pronounced.

Such a discovery, as the researchers note, suggests that existing reconstructions of the climate of past geological epochs may turn out to be inaccurate or fundamentally wrong.

For this reason, Professor Broccoli and his colleagues propose to repeat these calculations, taking into account the existence of the orbital cycle they discovered.

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