Introduction to the Mathematics of Climate at UMN - Lecture 5

By Richard McGehee

University of Minnesota

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This is lecture 5 in the series "Introduction to the Mathematics of Climate" offered at the University of Minnesota in 2014 with the support of MCRN and The Institute for Mathematics and its Applications.

It explores the what and why of Earth's glacial cycles. Topics treated include:

  • how analysis of the isotope Oxygen-18 in foraminifera fossils can reveal past temperatures over the past million years
  • how Vostok ice core data reveals temperatures over the past 400 kyr
  • Milankovitch cycles as an important but incomplete explanation of glacial cycles; orbital features such as eccentricity, obliquity, precession
  • the likelihood that without humans, the Earth would likely be headed towards another ice age




Colin James Grudzien

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Mathematics