Pre AP Geo Milankovitch Axial Tilt

The Milankovitch Cycles

Axial Tilt or Obliquity

The earth's axis is currently tilted 23.44 degrees and point to the North Star Polaris.  Milankovitch calculated that this tilt varies between a low value of 22.1 degrees and a maximum of 24.5 degrees with a 41,000 year period.  Our current tilt of 23.44 degrees which as at the approximate midpoint is decreasing.  When the earth's axial tilt is at its maximum the seasons are amplified at higher latitudes.  At this maximum tilt, summers are hotter and winters are colder.  It is believed that an ice age occurs when the snow from the previous winter does not melt.  These conditions seem to occur when the tilt is at its minimum which causes cooler summers.

Your goal is to make a sine wave graph showing how this tilt varies for the past 500,000 years

For more information visit the following web sites.

Wikipedia gives a basic overview

Indiana University diagram on Axial Tilt





















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