Ocean Drilling Program Site 806 in the western Pacific shows evidence of a remarkably constant average sedimentation rate. This feature allows us to analyze ancient climate proxies without the need for “orbital tuning,” a standard procedure in prior work, but one that can lead to biased results. Spectral analysis of stable oxygen isotope ratios at this site, a proxy for global ice volume, shows a single narrow peak with a period ≈ 100 k.y., a result that supports our model which links glacial cycles to variations in the inclination of the Earth's orbit. In contrast, spectral analysis of the coarse component fraction of the sediment (primarily foraminifera) shows a structure characteristic of standard Milankovitch theory, with a triplet of peaks with periods near those expected from the Earth's eccentricity: 95, 125, and 400 k.y. Bispectral analysis confirms these linkages but suggests that orbital inclination also plays some role in the coarse fraction. From the clear presence of both signals in different proxies at the same site, we conclude that although eccentricity affected the local climate, it is orbital inclination that drove the variations in the global ice volume for the past million years.

You do not currently have access to this article.