In this paper we examine the orbital signal in Earth's climate with a coupled model of intermediate complexity (ECBilt). The orbital influence on climate is studied by isolating the obliquity and precession signal in several time-slice experiments. Focus is on monsoonal systems with emphasis on the African summer monsoon. The model shows that both the precession and the obliquity signal in the African summer monsoon consists of an intensified precipitation maximum and further northward extension during minimum precession and maximum obliquity than during maximum precession and minimum obliquity. In contrast to obliquity, precession also influences the seasonal timing of the occurrence of the maximum precipitation. The response of the African monsoon to orbital induced insolation forcing can be divided into a response to insolation forcing at high northern latitudes and a response to insolation forcing at low latitudes, whereby the former dominates. The results also indicate that the amplitude of the precipitation response to obliquity depends on precession, while the precipitation response to precession is independent of obliquity. Our model experiments provides an explanation for the precession and obliquity signals in sedimentary records of the Mediterranean through monsoon-induced variations in Nile river outflow and northern Africa aridity.
E Tuenter, SL Weber, FJ Hilgen, LJ Lourens. The response of the African summer monsoon to remote and local forcing due to precession and obliquity
published, Global and Planetary Change, 2003, 36