loading page

Celestial Mechanics and Estimating the Termination of the Holocene
  • John Parmentola
John Parmentola
The RAND Corporation

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


This paper addresses several issues concerning Milankovitch Theory and its relationship to paleoclimate data over the last 800,000 years. A model is presented that deconvolutes the precession index (precession modulated by the eccentricity) and the obliquity contributions to the percentage change between successive mean-daily-insolation minima and maxima. The sum of these contributions is in close agreement with the corresponding benchmark calculation of J. Laskar et al. The model predictions indicate that the precession index contribution dominates such insolation changes, and its time-dependent behavior correlates with the occurrence of interglacial and glacial periods and temperature trends during these periods. Best fit curves to the separate contributions appear as quasiperiodic waves that correlate with interglacial initiations and terminations through their constructive and destructive interference. However, a comparison of model predictions with the EPICA Dome C (EDC) data indicates delayed inceptions for Marine Isotope Stages 18d and 13c, which have also been noted by Parrenin et al. through a comparison of LR04 benthic 18O and EDC ice core datasets. Finally, the model enables the classification of interglacial periods into two distinct types that approximately account for their durations. This classification also enables a low-resolution estimation of the Holocene termination based solely on celestial mechanical forcing.