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Tiny teeth take a bite out of Drake’s Passage. The great debate about the present and future of today’s global warming deals with only the past 2,000 to 400,000 years, and projects only into the next few centuries. The popular press usually forgets to mention the scientific fact that the Earth has been much warmer and colder than it is today, measured in geologic timeframes. One of the reasons for these climate swings are the Milankovitch Cycles, which are based on variations in Earth’s orbit. These include the planet’s tilt, orbital eccentricity and precession. These result in 100,000-year ice age cycles. Well, sort of. Milankovitch Cycles don’t explain all of the ice age/ warming cycles; it’s more complex than that, with many cycles not matching, especially as you go back in time. Carbon dioxide and plate tectonics also play a role.

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