MODELING ICE AGES and their inception can reveal aspects of the climate system that are not able to be measured, and provide a key to the drivers of climate change. Ice age model results can also allow an analysis of the global and regional conditions at that time, and provide a comparison with proxy field evidence. Models range from simple conceptual models, to full global climate models that include vegetation growth and ocean dynamics. To simulate ice ages or their inception, modelers consider several forcing factors. Low greenhouse gas levels are critical. A continental configuration that limits the oceanic transfer of heat from the tropics to the poles is also important. Ice ages can be instigated by orbital conditions that lend themselves to cool summers ...

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