Prior to the mid-twentieth century thirty years of record was generally regarded as sufficient in order to define a given climate. By the 1960s the idea of a static climate was recognized as being untenable. New approaches to palaeoclimatology were developed in the 1960s to 1970s. The astronomical theory of climatic changes during the Pleistocene proposed by Croll (1867), and developed mathematically by Milankovitch, seemed to conflict with evidence for dated climate changes. However, in 1976, Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton recalculated Milankovitch's chronology using powerful new statistical techniques and showed that it correlated well with past temperature records, especially for ocean palaeotemperatures derived from isotopic (180/160) ratios in marine organisms.

Continue reading here: The Global Climate System

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