On the Milankovitch sensitivity of the Quaternary deep-sea record W. H. Berger 1Geosciences Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA *Invited contribution by W. H. Berger, recipient of the Milutin Milankovic Medal 2012.
Received: 11 Jan 2013 – Accepted: 25 Jan 2013 – Published: 04 Mar 2013
Abstract. The response of the climate system to external forcing has become an item of
prime interest in the context of global warming, especially with respect to
the rate of melting land-based ice masses. The deep-sea record of ice-age
climate change has been useful in assessing the sensitivity of the climate
system to such forcing, notably to orbital forcing, which is well-known for
the last several million years. When comparing response and forcing, one
finds that sensitivity varies greatly through time, apparently in dependence
on the state of the system. The changing stability of ice masses presumably
is the underlying cause for the changing state of the system. A buildup of
vulnerable ice masses within the latest Tertiary, when going into the ice
ages, is conjectured to cause a stepwise increase of climate variability
since the early Pliocene.
Citation: Berger, W. H.: On the Milankovitch sensitivity of the Quaternary deep-sea record, Clim. Past Discuss., 9, 1237-1257, doi:10.5194/cpd-9-1237-2013, 2013.