Jump to this Animation »
Vostok Core and Milankovic Cycles Climate Applet

Tom Whittaker, University of Wisconsin

An applet about the Milankovitch cycle that relates temperature over the last 400,000 years to changes in the eccentricity, precession, and orbital tilt of Earth's orbit.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Instructor should take a few minutes to go over the directions below the applet.
  • Be sure to note that you can view the diagram from either the top or the side view.

About the Content

  • Allows direct comparison, on a graph, between temperature data derived from the Vostok ice core and forcing from the major Milankovitch cycles, paired with animation of Earth's orbit, tilt, and precession over the last 400,000 years.
  • These cycles were first calculated by Serbian mathematician Milutin Milanković in the early 20th Century and are now well established as important factors that can drive long term climate processes. See: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/clisci100k.html#cycles
  • Because of the understanding of these cycles, climatologists are confident that recent warming is not being caused by such orbital cycles.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The Sun-Earth Geometry is nicely demonstrated
  • The change in Earth's orbit is not displayed. This is the key to Milankovitch Cycles.

About the Pedagogy

  • The direct comparison of the graph and animations allows different learning styles to engage simultaneously with the concepts.
  • Very good example to use to explain a difficult concept, especially to visual learners.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Applet loads quickly and plays fine on Firefox.
Entered the Collection: December 2012 Last Reviewed: December 2016

Jump to this Animation »