Cooling Deep Oceans – and the Earth’s General Background Temperature

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Wim Röst


Five million years ago, average temperatures were higher than they are now. During the Pliocene, the era just before the period of the Quaternary Ice Ages, ‘glacials’ did not yet exist because temperatures were too high. As cooling of the deep seas continued, temperatures became that low that large surfaces of the Northern Hemisphere became covered with snow. The earth’s albedo grew fast and large ice sheets started to develop. Only short warm interglacials separated the glacials. The emergence of the interglacials first showed a 41,000-year period (as proposed by Milankovitch) and in the last part of the Quaternary they showed a 100,000-year pattern. A difference that so far is not well understood. Here it is suggested that the continued cooling of deep sea temperatures is the cause of that diminished frequency of interglacials. Colder deep-sea temperatures resulted in lower sea surface temperatures that…

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