• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Milankovitch Cycles

THE MILANKOVITCH CYCLES are recurring variations in the Earth-Sun orbital geometry. They collectively account for deviations in the amount and intensity of solar radiation received by the Earth. The cycles are named after Serbian astrophysicist Milutin Milankovitch (1879–1958), who developed the modern mathematical theory and formulas upon which these orbital perturbations are based. The central assertion of the Milankovitch theory is that the Earth's orbital relationship with the Sun is not stagnant, but dynamic, with three cyclic modes, which, when precisely combined, may significantly alter the Earth's insolation, resulting in a major global climate shift. While the Milankovitch theory was first proposed in the 1930s, the first supporting scientific evidence was not brought forth until the 1970s, when researchers of the CLIMAP project linked the ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles