Ice Sheets and Sea Level Change as a Response to Climatic Change at the Astronomical Time Scale

  • A. Berger
  • TH. Fichefet
  • H. Gallee
  • I. Marsiat
  • CH. Tricot
  • J. P. van Ypersele
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 325)


Understanding how and why global climate is changing is investigated at the astronomical time scale related to the glacial-interglacial cycles of the Quaternary Ice Age.

A 2-dimensional physical model taking into account the coupling between the atmosphere, the upper ocean, the sea-ice, the ice-sheets and the continental surfaces has been forced by the long-term variations of the insolation induced by the astronomical changes in the elements of the Earth’s orbit. The low frequency part of the ice volume and sea-level changes have been correctly reproduced in agreement with the deep sea and ice cores records and with the climatic reconstructions made from multiple geological observations. However, after 6 kyr BP, the remaining ice volume of the Greenland and northern American ice sheets is overestimated in the simulation, probably because of the absence of an interactive carbon cycle providing a time-dependent atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Extrapolation has been made for the next 100,000 years assuming no human interference at this time scale: the next ice age is expected to occur before 60,000 years AP, the cooling rate between now and then being roughly 0.01 °C per century. The maximum amount of ice to be expected in the northern hemisphere is 27*106 km3 representing a 70 m sea-level drop in 55,000 years, i.e. slightly more than 12 cm per century in average.


Astronomical Theory Milankovitch Theory Astronomical Time Scale Monthly Insolation Orbital Parameter Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Berger
    • 1
  • TH. Fichefet
    • 1
  • H. Gallee
    • 1
  • I. Marsiat
    • 1
  • CH. Tricot
    • 1
  • J. P. van Ypersele
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut d’Astronomie et de Géophysique G. LemaîtreUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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