The consequences of the hypothesis that Milankovitch forcing affects the phase (e.g., termination times) of the 100 kyr glacial cycles via a mechanism known as ``nonlinear phase locking'' are examined. Phase locking provides a mechanism by which Milankovitch forcing can act as the ''pacemaker'' of the glacial cycles. Nonlinear phase locking can determine the timing of the major deglaciations, nearly independently of the specific mechanism or model that is responsible for these cycles as long as this mechanism is suitably nonlinear. A consequence of this is that the fit of a certain model output to the observed ice volume record cannot be used as an indication that the glacial mechanism in this model is necessarily correct. Phase locking to obliquity and possibly precession variations is distinct from mechanisms relying on a linear or nonlinear amplification of the eccentricity forcing. Nonlinear phase locking may determine the phase of the glacial cycles even in the presence of noise in the climate system and can be effective at setting glacial termination times even when the precession and obliquity bands account only for a small portion of the total power of an ice volume record. Nonlinear phase locking can also result in the observed ``quantization'' of the glacial period into multiples of the obliquity or precession periods.
Consequences of pacing the Pleistocene 100 kyr ice ages by nonlinear phase locking to Milankovitch forcing
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