Thongchai Thailand


Posted on: July 3, 2019





IMAGE#4: TWO DIMENSIONAL PROJECTION OF THE EARTHbandicam 2019-07-03 14-06-05-514





REFERENCE:Glacial Periods in Earth’s History [LINK]

REFERENCE: Sullivan (2016): Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO047001 [LINK]

REFERENCE: Lecture by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK]


  1. Human civilization got started in the current interglacial, the Holocene. It was in the “Holocene Climate Optimum” [LINK] early in this interglacial about 8,000 years ago, that wild animal-like humans came out of the forest and the hills and out of their caves to farm and raise farm animals and to cut down forests for wood to build homes and the community of homes and farms created a social culture and social identification. This dramatic change in our history, the Neolithic Revolution, gave us human civilization that began in an interglacial. It is in this context that we must understand our relationship with and our view of glaciation cycles. This view is an interglacial-centric view. This is why we see interglacials as the norm and study glaciation as the departure from this norm even though interglacials are rather brief when compared with the time span of glaciation. It is thus that our research question in the study of glaciation cycles is not “why are there interglacials?” but rather our research question is “why are there glaciations?“.
  2. The interesting and ground breaking contribution of James Kamis [LINK] in the study of glaciation cycles is the acknowledgement that the normal state of the earth is glaciation. It is the interglacial that is the the brief and unusual blip of warming and ice melt in the context of a cold and icy earth as the norm. In the Kamis view, to understand glaciation cycles we must understand not why glaciations happen but why interglacials happen.
  3. IMAGE#1 above is a 5 million year history of glaciation cycles from the study cited in the link. The full text of the study is available in pdf format at this site [ FIVE-MILLION-YEARS ].  It shows that the surface conditions have cooled over this period and that 41,000 year glaciation cycles 2 million years ago have changed over the years to longer than 100,000 year cycles. The high level of volatility in the chart is indicative of significant random changes at shorter time scales both in temperature and in duration.
  4. IMAGE#2 above is a visual rendition of the Milankovitch theory of glaciation cycles. The theory explains these cycles of icy and warm conditions on earth in terms of the earth’s changing relationship with the sun by virtue of tilt and precession in its rotation and in terms of the eccentricity of its orbit around the sun. This theory implies glaciation cycles are explained in terms of changing solar energy incident on the Northern Hemisphere of the earth.
  5. IMAGE#3 above is a video representation of the Last Glaciation cycle from the Eemian interglacial, going through the Last Glacial Maximum, and ending in the mid Holocene. This cycle is typical of the chaotic interplay between ice accumulation and ice dissipation found in all aspects of the glacial cycle that is discussed in a related post on this site [LINK]  [LINK] . It is thus that we find both ice growth and ice dissipation at millennial and centennial time scales in all aspects of the glaciation cycle but with a slight advantage to growth in glaciation and to dissipation in deglaciation and interglacials.
  6. IMAGES#4 & #5 above describe an alternate theory of glaciation cycles described by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] . IMAGE#4 is a two dimensional projection of the Earth. In the color grey are seen the continents of Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Along the bottom of the image, in the hashed white area, is an indication of the ice sheet extent along a timeline measured in millions of years before the present. Above that and in red are the ocean floor plate boundaries. The color red is used here to indicate a high level of geological activity. These are very active sediments. The cooler colors are older sediments. Regions in cooler colors are older and less active sediments. Along the black lines through the center, the rock is very young with a high level of heat flow.
  7. Recent research from MIT shows that glaciation cycles coincide with plate collisions [LINK] . The MIT press release says that collisions of tectonic plates along the tropics cause glaciation because the exposed rocks absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and that therefore, without the CO2 to keep earth warm, it slides into glaciation; but here James Kamis offers a broader interpretation of the correlation between plate collisions and glaciation with the observation that the MIT finding confirms only that there is a relationship between plate tectonics and climate and thereby validates the Kamis Plate Climatology Theory (KPCT) [LINK] . That their interpretation of this finding is in terms of atmospheric phenomena is a different matter altogether and not a consideration in this analysis where a different interpretation is offered. The essential tenet of the KPCT theory is that geological forces have a strong influence on climate and climate related events and that therefore these phenomena cannot be understood purely in atmospheric terms. Glaciation is a climate related event.
  8. The research show that anomalies in the earth’s rotation around its axis and its revolution around the sun create periodic changes in the relationship between the earth and the sun. The traditional interpretation of these changes, in purely atmospheric terms is that they cause periods of warming and cooling because of varying amounts of the sun’s energy reaching the northern latitudes of the planet. The alternate interpretation of he same anomalies in KPCT is that these changes place stresses on plate movements and generate heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries and these in turn cause changes to the climate. Climate is a geological phenomenon. 
  9. The Lamont and Doherty 2005 paper confirms a cycle of large heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries with period of roughly 100,00 years give or take, and this period matches the that of glaciation cycles within their natural variance. If we combine the Lamont&Doherty results and the MIT findings we find a sound basis for developing a relationship between plate tectonics and glaciation cycles consistent with the KPCT proposition that plate tectonics is the dominant force in climate.
  10. IMAGE#5 is a chart of earth’s surface temperature from 400,000 years ago to 1950. The chart is inverted so that warm periods appear below the x-axis with cool periods above the x-axis. It is evident that the the normal state of the planet is the cool period but with periodic brief excursions into warmth, colored red on the chart. Secondly, it is noted that the transition from cool period to warmth is a steep and sudden decline – almost instantaneously in the context of the time scale of the chart. It just so happens that we have a mechanism on our planet that can generate that kind of heat flow, and that mechanism is plate tectonics. Also noteworthy is that many of the warm periods are not really warming periods. There is a sharp and steep dive into the warmth and then almost immediately it begins its return to the cold.
  11. The cold periods are the earth’s natural state and the brief excursions into warmth are anomalies that are quickly corrected. The current warming period dives into its peak warming in the initial transition from cold and then it slowly begins its journey back to the cold. These transitions are not smooth however as can be seen in the sawtooth shape of the return to the cold where some periods of stalled warmth will be found. The current warming event also shows the sawtooth return to the cold with relatively brief alternating warming and cooling periods. These observations are made relative to the very long time cycle of the glaciation cycle compared with for example life spans of humans and their civilizations. The current warm event is less than 12,000 years old and the shape of the curve appears to indicate that it is running out of steam.
  12. CONCLUSION: From these data and from his study of plate tectonics and volcanism, Kamis concludes that the concept of glacial periods (often referred to as “ice ages”) is anomalous in the context of what we see in IMAGE#3. Rather than calling them ice ages or glacial periods, we should understand them as earth’s standard and equilibrium climate state that is from time to time interrupted by plate tectonic events that cause warming and deglaciation. It should be noted however, that this natural state of the planet is extremely volatile with countless dives toward deglaciation that don’t make it all the way into an interglacial state. These cycles are best understood as the brief warming interruptions of the earth’s normal glacial climate state. What we see as glaciation is really the equilibrium state of the earth’s climate. What needs explaining are those brief dives into warmth and these are best explained in terms of the earth’s own geological activity. 

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[…] The Geology of Interglacials […]

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