The Role of ‘Ocean Upwelling’ and ‘The Deep Ocean’ in the Glacial Cycles

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Wim Röst


Glacial cycles show a gradual diminishing temperature during the slide into the glacial period, but a steep increase of temperature at the start of an interglacial period. As argued here, both ‘ocean upwelling’* and the temperature of the deep ocean might play an important role.


The temperature profiles from interglacial to glacial and the one back into an interglacial is are very unequal. After a short and steep rise of temperatures into the interglacial, there is a much slower and stepwise fall of global temperatures lasting some 100,000 years. It is interesting to consider the role of the oceans in this process. Ocean upwelling and deep-sea absolute temperatures may play important roles.

The unequal temperature profile of a full glacial cycle

As figure 1 shows, after the rapid rise into an interglacial there is a long cooling period. So, how do we explain…

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