Clim. Past, 2, 43-55, 2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
In the schematic model proposed here, ice sheets responded linearly to insolation forcing at the precession and obliquity cycles prior to 0.9 million years ago, but CO2 feedback amplified the ice response at the 41 000-year period by a factor of approximately two. After 0.9 million years ago, with slow polar cooling, ablation weakened. CO2 feedback continued to amplify ice-sheet growth every 41 000 years, but weaker ablation permitted some ice to survive insolation maxima of low intensity. Step-wise growth of these longer-lived ice sheets continued until peaks in northern summer insolation produced abrupt deglaciations every ~85 000 to ~115 000 years. Most of the deglacial ice melting resulted from the same CO2/temperature feedback that had built the ice sheets. Several processes have the northern geographic origin, as well as the requisite orbital tempo and phasing, to be candidate mechanisms for ice-sheet control of CO2 and their own feedback.