Friday, March 18, 2016
Why I Don't Believe In Milankovitch Theory I: The Earth's Obliquity
The wuwt site Wednesday had a post on "fractal patterns" purportedly seen, in "millions of years" of climate variations, by Peter Ditlevsen, Associate Professor of Climate Physics at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, and Zhi-Gang Shao from South China University, Guangzhou in Kina. Along the way, Prof. Ditlevsen wrote:
"The astronomical factors that affect the Earth’s climate are that the other planets in the solar system pull on the Earth because of their gravity. This affects the Earth’s orbit around the sun, which varies from being almost circular to being more elliptical and this affects solar radiation on Earth. The gravity of the other planets also affects the Earth’s rotation on its axis. The Earth’s axis fluctuates between having a tilt of 22 degrees and 24 degrees and when the tilt is 24 degrees, there is a larger difference between summer and winter and this has an influence on the violent shifts in climate between ice ages and interglacial periods."
Ditlevsen was talking about the Milankovitch theory, not observed reality. I don't believe in that theory, and the following is my response to the above statement:
Modern science is choked with the weeds of false assumptions and unsupported speculations, based upon long-nurtured false dogma. The Milankovitch theory is just one such worthless field, widely admired and widely quoted today, but quite false nevertheless. My unprecedented research has uncovered the single, objective source of all of the ancient mysteries in the history of man on Earth--a design of the Earth itself, and the solar system, meant to be read and understood when man's knowledge grew enough to recognize all of its parts and encompass the whole. The Great Design is based upon an essentially unvarying tilt to the Earth's spin axis with respect to its orbital axis (the latter being the normal, or perpendicular, to the ecliptic). In that design, the Earth itself is set up like a leaning, spinning top in space, and like the top always maintaining nearly the same tilt. That setup of the world in space, I have found, is not just at the heart of every mythological tradition in the world, indeed of every ancient sacred obsession, superstition or "ancient mystery" in the world--it IS the heart of it all, first and foremost as a proclamation, by the "gods" who made it, that it WAS DESIGNED, by them. Simply put, all the ancient mysteries are based upon the north pole of the spin axis CIRCLING the north pole of the ecliptic, which means it is always separated from it by the same angle, about 23.5 degrees, on the celestial sphere. I will say more about the clear, observational evidence (independent of any consideration of design) for an essentially constant tilt below.
Even without recourse to that design, as a physicist I would seriously question any theory that claimed that a change of only 2 degrees in the tilt (between 22 and 24 degrees, as claimed by Ditlevsen, or more accurately 23.1 +/- 1.3 degrees in the Milankovitch theory) would necessarily and substantially alter the global mean temperature, certainly not by so much as the 9F°, or 5C°, we are told by today's miseducated scientists means the difference between a global "ice age" and a warm "interglacial" (in quotes, because I no longer believe in either, since my host of discoveries pertaining to the design). I certainly have experienced no substantial difference (in my past travels and living around the United States) in temperatures at most places that are separated by only 2 degrees latitude. And I think that it is unreasonable, even foolish, to think that our current "interglacial", with a mean temperature of 59°F, would turn into a global ice age if the mean temperature went down to 50°F.
Now, let us look at the historical evidence concerning the tilt of the Earth. Both Ptolemy in his "Almagest" (c. 139 AD), and Copernicus in "On The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres" (c.1525 AD) gave data on earlier observations of the tilt of the Earth, and modern sources tell us the precise value today, and how it is varying over time (it is decreasing very slowly, about 0.00013 degrees per year). Below is a graph I made of these historical observations and discussed in an appendix to my book, "The End of the Mystery".
Ptolemy (139 AD) gave the axial tilt (formally called the obliquity) as 23°51'20", or 23.856 degrees (to the nearest .001°), and he claimed the same value for Hipparchus (c. 125 BC), Aristarchus (c. 260 BC) and Timocharus (c. 281 BC) before him. Copernicus gave values for his own time (23°28.5' in 1525 AD), for Prophatius (23°32' in 1299), for Arzachel (23°34' in 1069), and for al-Battani (23°35' in 879). Strangely, his own 1525 value is the only one that is not in line with the modern established linear variation (the -0.00013°/yr. already mentioned). In 2000, it was 23.43928°. The axial tilt has been observed to be within .1° of 23.5° for over 1100 years, and that is the value that is usually quoted in popular works. (I suggested a value of 23.55646° as the most likely designed value, and which I noted on the graph, based upon my research, for reasons discussed in my book and which I won't go into here.)
From the precise star positions Ptolemy gave for some 18 stars (in ecliptic coordinates), and the positions he claimed his predecessors Hipparchus, Aristarchus and Timocharis gave for those same stars, I found his claim of 23°51'20" did not fit that data, and that a slightly smaller tilt was indicated by those given star positions. The errors in those star positions--compared to the extremely precise modern observations of them--are such that it is not surprising that the values of the tilt I calculated from them do not fit the linear trend of the data since 879 AD. Nevertheless, they are substantially closer to that line than is his claimed value (which is entirely inconsistent with that trend line), and they in fact follow that trend line by bracketing it, albeit roughly. However, the main point to be taken from Ptolemy's work (other than that his star data don't fit the axial tilt he claimed to observe) is that, since the design calls for a constant tilt of about 23.5° (or 23.556°), and Ptolemy's claimed 23.856° is just 0.3° above the "designed" value, and was touted unchanged for at least 400 years (from Timocharis to Ptolemy), it is likely that 23°51'20" in fact represents the peak in a periodically varying tilt, with 0.3° the maximum variation from the mean value. That variation is much smaller than the Milankovitch value of +/- 1.3 degrees, a maximum variation of only about 1.27%, only one-fourth of the Milankovitch claimed variation of over 5.5%.
It is natural that ancient observers would have for centuries thought the Earth's tilt to be a constant, as, again, that is what the design itself indicates, and what would have been taught based upon the sacred traditions, all of them deriving from that all-encompassing world design, which dealt only in circles (hence also the long-held belief in perfectly circular planetary orbits). In judging the modern Milankovitch theory, it is enough to have shown that the historically observed variation, and the 0.3°maximum variation as indicated by Ptolemy's claim of 23°51'20", is much smaller than what the modern theory claims. As I doubt the Milankovitch claimed variation of +/- 1.3 degrees could substantially affect the global temperature, so much more do I doubt that the far more likely +/- 0.3 degrees could do so.
Modern science needs to at least do better than Ptolemy and Copernicus, to impress me, and of course it cannot do so without confronting and accepting the Great Design, and the honest work of much earlier, even ancient, observers.
Science also needs to ask: If the Earth's orbit really varies from "nearly circular" to substantially more elliptical, why are we just now, and since well before the time of Kepler, in that nearly-perfectly circular orbit, rather than in a more elliptical phase? There simply is no observational evidence the Earth is ever in a more elliptical orbit, nor that, once in an elliptical orbit, it could be coaxed by the planets into such stable near-circularity as Kepler and all subsequent scientists have found it.
Science needs to laugh at all such theories, and say "Back to the drawing board, fellows!". Your obsessive seeking and finding of supposedly shared periodicities in your presumed causes and effects, in the "paleoclimate" data, especially in deep ice cores--which is all you seem willing or able to do with all of those theories--are all failing both hard (i.e., accurate and precise) observation and the common-sense physical insight expected of a good (i.e., competent, and honest) physical scientist.