Modeling glacial climates. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mathematical climate modelling has matured as a discipline to the point that it is useful in paleoclimatology. As an example a new two dimensional energy balance model is described and applied to several problems of current interest. The model includes the seasonal cycle and the detailed land-sea geographical distribution. By examining the changes in the seasonal cycle when external perturbations are forced upon the climate system it is possible to construct hypotheses about the origin of midlatitude ice sheets and polar ice caps. In particular, the model predicts a rather sudden potential for glaciation over large areas when the Earth's orbital elements are only slightly altered. Similarly, the drift of continents or the change of atmospheric carbon dioxide over geological time induces radical changes in continental ice cover. With the advance of computer technology and improved understanding of the individual components of the climate system, these ideas will be tested in far more realistic models in the near future.-from STAR, 22(15), 1984

author list (cited authors)

  • North, G. R., & Crowley, T. J.

complete list of authors

  • North, GR||Crowley, TJ

publication date

  • January 1984