A new study has revealed that climate patterns on Earth are changes in cycles that have been greatly influenced by other planets in the solar system.
What Was Discovered?
Scientists discovered that the planets Jupiter and Venus impact the way climate is on Earth. The findings verify that the gravitational pull from Jupiter and Venus cause the Earth's orbit around the sun to change every 405,000 years. This impacts the weather patterns on Earth.
The findings from the study were published on May 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Lead author Dennis Kent, an expert in paleomagnetism at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University, studied the cores of rocks in two different areas. First, his team examined a butte from Arizona's Petrified National Forrest. They examined volcanic ash layers with radioisotopes and determined that the rocks were formed over 200 million years ago.
Kent and his team compared the Arizona rocks with other samples from New York and New Jersey. Those samples contained evidence of contrasting wet and dry periods during the same time.
What Was Known In The Past?
Previously, scientists examined the relationship between the Earth's orbit and climate in terms of Milankovitch cycles. Named after a Serbian geophysicist, the Milankovitch cycles detail the changes in the Earth's movement related to climate. They describe the shifts in the Earth's orbit, the tilt of the Earth's axis, and the impact on the weather. The Milankovitch cycles each had a 100,000-year period, including a proposed 41,000-year ice age.
For years, this is what scientists have gone by when comparing Earth's orbit and climate. There have been a lot of debates in the scientific community about the data from the Milankovitch cycles. For example, the frequency of shorter cycles has evolved over time, with no exact number in place. Some of the cycles are on top of each other. This is why more research has to be done.
What Does This Discovery Mean?
This new research will change the way that scientists examine life on Earth. There are immediate implications for the way that climate is studied. It could even change the way that scientists study the dinosaurs.
"Scientists can now link changes in the climate, environment, dinosaurs, mammals and fossils around the world to this 405,000-year cycle in a very precise way," said Kent.