Planetary Periodicities and Terrestrial Climate Stress

  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge


Extraterrestrial climatic stress is applied to the planet Earth by four deterministic processes:
  1. 1.

    Planetary orbital motions, dominated by Jupiter and Saturn, that transmit momentum by gravitational torques, causing changes in velocity and spin rate to successive planets and to the Sun itself. On Earth, spit rate change appear to trigger seismicity and volcanicity (and therefore dust veils).

  2. 2.

    The Sun accordingly develops its own mini-orbit around the systemic barycenter,with abrupt changes in its acceleration and turning angle that are expressed in the Hand 22 yr solar cycle of sunspots, electromagnetic radiation and particulate emissions that reach the Earth and beyond as the “Solar Wind.”

  3. 3.

    The Earth’s geomagnetic field is modulated by the solar wind, which triggers geochemical reactions within the gases of the upper atmosphere. In turn the latter control the stratospheric greenhouse effect, high-altitude clouds and other factors that influence the general circulation. Insolation is further modulated by long-term (10,000 to 100,000 yr) components of orbital motion, eccentricity, tilt and precession, commensurable with category 1 periodicities. The geologic spacing of the great ice ages probably reflects the Galactic Cycle.

  4. 4.

    Lunar tidal cycles, identified in many terrestrial climate series, develop standing waves in the atmosphere and help to trigger major seismic and volcanic events with contribution to the dust veil. The 18.6 yr nodal periodicity also corresponds to a’nutation of the precession parameter and is commensurable in turn with the basic cycles of category 1.



Solar Cycle Orbital Motion Sunspot Cycle Glacial Cycle Outer Planet 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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