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A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Why did glacial cycles intensify a million years ago?

Credit: Ice from Iceland's Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier is on its way to the Atlantic Ocean; Kevin Krajick/LDEO

Researchers find clues to glacial mystery on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean

About a million years ago, something big happened to the planet. There was a major shift in the response of Earth's climate system to variations in our orbit around the Sun. That shift is called the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, or MPT. Before the MPT, cycles between colder glacial and warmer interglacial periods happened every 41,000 years. After, glacial periods became more intense -- intense enough to form ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere that lasted 100,000 years. That gave Earth the regular ice age cycles that have persisted into human time.

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