The influence of obliquity, the tilt of the Earth's rotational axis, on incoming solar radiation at low latitudes is small, yet many tropical and subtropical palaeoclimate records reveal a clear obliquity signal. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain this signal, such as the remote influence of high-latitude glacials, the remote effect of insolation changes at mid- to high latitudes independent of glacial cyclicity, shifts in the latitudinal extent of the tropics, and changes in latitudinal insolation gradients. Using a sophisticated coupled ocean–atmosphere global climate model, EC-Earth, without dynamical ice sheets, we performed two idealized experiments of obliquity extremes. Our results show that obliquity-induced changes in tropical climate can occur without high-latitude ice sheet fluctuations. Furthermore, the tropical circulation changes are consistent with obliquity-induced changes in the cross-equatorial insolation gradient, suggesting that this gradient may be used to explain obliquity signals in low-latitude palaeoclimate records instead of the classical 65° N summer insolation curve.
JHC Bosmans, FJ Hilgen, E Tuenter, LJ Lourens. Obliquity forcing of low-latitude climate.
Status: published, Journal: Climate of the Past, Volume: 11, Year: 2015, First page: 1335, Last page: 1346, doi: 10.5194/cp-11-1335-2015