Climate Dynamics

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 133–143

Statistical detection of the mid-Pleistocene transition

  • KA Maasch

DOI: 10.1007/BF01053471

Cite this article as:
Maasch, K. Climate Dynamics (1988) 2: 133. doi:10.1007/BF01053471


Using statistical methods we have shown quantitatively that the transition in mean and variance observed inδ18O records during the middle of the Pleistocene was abrupt. By applying these methods to all of the available records spanning the entire Pleistocene it appears that this jump was global and primarily represents an increase in ice mass. At roughly the same time an abrupt decrease in sea surface temperature also occurred, indicative of sudden global cooling. This kind of evidence suggests a possible bifurcation of the climate system that must be accounted for in a complete explanation of the ice ages. Theoretical models including internal dynamics are capable of exhibiting this kind of rapid transition.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • KA Maasch
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Geology and GeophysicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA