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Earth Space Science

Orbits of Jupiter and Venus Affect Earth's Climate, Says Study (usatoday.com) 208

According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gravitational tugs from the planets Jupiter and Venus gradually affect Earth's climate and life forms. The phenomenon occurs every 405,000 years and has been going on for at least 215 million years. USA Today reports: Jupiter and Venus are such strong influences because of their size and proximity. Venus is the nearest planet to us -- at its farthest, only about 162 million miles -- and roughly similar in mass. Jupiter is much farther away, but is the Solar System's largest planet. The study says that every 405,000 years, due to wobbles in our orbit caused by the gravitational pulls of the two planets, seasonal differences here on Earth become more intense. Summers are hotter and winters colder; dry times drier, wet times wetter. At the height of the cycle, more rain falls in the tropics, allowing lakes there to fill up. This compares to the other end of the cycle, when seasonal rains in the tropics "are less and lakes have much less of a tendency to become as full," [study lead author Dennis] Kent said. The results showed that the 405,000-year cycle is the most regular astronomical pattern linked to the Earth's annual turn around the sun, he said. Right now, we are in the middle of the cycle, as the most recent peak was around 200,000 years ago.
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Orbits of Jupiter and Venus Affect Earth's Climate, Says Study

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    In 3. 2. 1.

    • I really hope they don't try to tax gravity. I try to be funny, God knows, but I left it all at home today.
  • Told you so (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    See! See! This validates all of astrology!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I foresaw this comment coming. Prophecy fulfilled.

    • Re:Told you so (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @05:41AM (#56572438)

      Of course it doesn't. But it helps to explain why, *hundreds of years ago when science barely existed*, intelligent people could take astrology seriously.

      The sun has a massive effect on us, the moon too (light, tides). So why couldn't the other heavenly bodies effect us?

      And they do effect us. But since then, science has managed to quantify that effect. And that effect, it turns out, consists of gravity and pretty much nothing else. Very occasionally, like in this study, that gravity has noticeable effects on our lives.

      • That's really old knowledge, you know...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And they do effect us.

        And they do affect us.

      • What genius modded this Insightful? The story is about a 4E5 year cycle and you think astrologers in the last 3k years observed effects?

        • I don't know that astrologers ever observed effects, frankly. I studied it as a youth, and there wasn't any empiricism in anything I read. When the US started running the draft by birthday (in the Vietnam years) we were joking that, astrologically, that was concentrating traits. I never heard anything about that empirically.

  • by Oddhack ( 18073 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @04:42AM (#56572284) Homepage

    Posters who date from the Usenet era may remember Alexander Abian [kookscience.com], known for "VENUS MUST BE MOVED INTO AN EARTH-LIKE ORBIT" and other kookery. If there's an afterlife, I imagine he's capering and kicking his heels high at the moment.

  • by mendred ( 634647 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @05:38AM (#56572436) Homepage

    For those who didn't RTFA - No this doesn't disprove global warming as a result of emissions. quote from the end of the article

    "The climate impact from the planets pales when compared to how humans are affecting the planet from burning fossil fuels, for example. "It's pretty far down on the list of so many other things that can affect climate on times scales that matter to us," Kent said.

    "All the carbon dioxide we're pouring into the air right now is the obvious big enchilada. That's having an effect we can measure right now. The planetary cycle is a little more subtle.""

    • Also, if the planetary cycles are measured in hundreds of thousands of years, they wouldn't be changing the climate from one decade to the other.

  • I wonder if this has to do anythibg with Eutopa (planet, not continent) and why we are not allowed to go there.

  • And Jupiter aligns with Mars Then peace will guide the planets And love will steer the stars
  • If we are right in the middle between two points of maximum seasonal differences it must be the point of minimum differences.
    • by spitzak ( 4019 )

      It says are half way between the maximum and minimum.

      • Where?
        It says we are in the middle of the cycle. The is 400000 years. The last peak was 200000 years ago. A cycle is the period in which it repeats, so the next maximum is 400000 years after the last. So we are hlf way between two maxima. So we are at a minimum, assuming that the cycle is roughly symetric.
        • by spitzak ( 4019 )

          You are right, that is what it says, implying we are at (or near) the minimum. Seems strange to say we are in the "middle of the cycle" because who is to say the ends of the cycle are at the maximums (rather than the minimums) which is why I quickly read it to mean we are half way between them. The USA Today article uses the same wording so it is not the summary fault. I didn't pay the $10 to read the academic paper, besides it might not say. I wonder if perhaps they mangled the response from somebody to th

          • Yes, I think they deliberately did not make it clear that we are at the most harmless point, because this is bad for research funding. That's why I felt I need to state that.
            This might be related to the development of civilisation though. Stable conditions allowed the number of humans to increase further and further, leading to where we are today.
  • ... AGW (Anthropic Global Wobbling)?

  • Right now, we are in the middle of the cycle, as the most recent peak [of the 405,000 year cycle] was around 200,000 years ago.

    Aren't the middle and the peak the same fucking thing?

    Looking at a bell curve, it would appear we are at one of the ends.

  • by foxalopex ( 522681 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2018 @11:22AM (#56574010)

    If you carefully read the description it says that these are roughly 400,000 year cycles and we're currently in the middle of a cycle at about 200,000 years, not at a peak. Rapid rise in temperatures has been seen in the last 200 years or so which means this cycle can't explain why we're in the middle of a climate disaster now. It might explain why the climate was a bit weird 200,000 years ago before human civilization even existed. Now consider this, if Jupiter and Venus can affect the climate despite being so far away we can't even feel when it's up in the sky, then why wouldn't burning billions of tonnes of fossil fuels also have an impact on the climate? After all humans can move mountains, why wouldn't everything that we do have an impact on climate.

    • by Q-Hack! ( 37846 )

      The Milankovitch cycles have long known to be the cause of glacial-interglacial cycles. If we ignore the time before the Pleistocene, where the atmosphere was substantially different than today, and only focus on the last 500,000 years. The glacial-interglacial cycles have an approximate swing of 15 degrees. People are worried today about a 2 degree rise. When the temps continue to rise to those of the Eemian interglacial period, the seas will rise 25 feet, the planet will be about 4-5 degrees warmer th

      • Please explain. Who is attempting to ruin whose economy? Who is taxing what that would attain such a goal? More to the point, who *specifically* stands to profit? Please note that "the government" is not an acceptable answer, especially to the last one. Are specific actors in the US government seeking to ruin the US economy? Are there members of the UN seeking to ruin the global economy? To what end?

        Now lets look at the mirror image of your conspiracy theory. We know there are parties who stand to gain financially from continuing to produce fossil fuels for as long as possible. We know that they would see cheap solar or nuclear power (or worse, a general decrease in energy usage) as a business-threatening proposition. We know in the past, these same corporations have done horrible things to the environment in the name of profit (leaded gas, anyone?). So why wouldn't it make more sense that these parties, with a well-known profit motive, are actually the ones spreading FUD?

        Also, a 25 foot rise in sea level would be a big deal to those living on the coast. I don't think telling them just to "adapt" will soothe their worries, especially for those who live on an island. Some current projections put us beating the Eemian temperatures within my lifespan, and being 2 degreesC above that during my children's life. In the next century we could be seeing average temperatures not seen on this planet in the last 5 million years. Just because 3 or 4 degrees C sounds like a small number doesn't mean that the effects won't be catastrophic.

        • I will listen to a person concerned about CO2/warming if they are not anti-nuclear.

          Give me two megawatts of on-line nuclear capacity for every megawatt of coal taken offline, and I'm on your side.

          If they are anti-nuclear, CO2/warming is not their agenda. Their agenda is something else. They're arithmetic deniers.

          (Advocating phasing out coal in favor of nuclear for something like 40 years now, but nobody listens to me.)

          • Yeah. It's a pity there are so many stupid people on both sides of this argument. On one side: "no nukes, no coal, no windmills!" On the other side: "The gubberment wants to kill small business by adding scrubbers to gas-fired turbines!" There's so much misinformation, bad logic, and downright nonsense. Those of us who have been in the power generation industry just shake our heads in dismay.
  • Because the title is "Empirical evidence for stability of the 405-kiloyear Jupiter–Venus eccentricity cycle over hundreds of millions of years" as if we already know perfectly well about the cycle, and they just show that it's stable.
  • Repeat after me, slowly: From a human point of view, any natural cycle that affects climates where we live must be handled in the same way as any manmade cause. This is why the proper response to climate change is engineering, not hysteria.

    • From a human point of view, any natural cycle that affects climates where we live must be handled in the same way as any manmade cause

      A 400,000 year cycle can be handled in a slower way than a 400 year one, though.

  • ... we already have all the answers we need, ok? We know everything we need to know already about everything. Climate is changing, humans are the cause, and we have to make everything back the way it was. End of story thank you. We must make maximum efforts to roll back the clock because we have allowed our planet to change and that is not acceptable. Our species rose to prominence based on our ability to prevent change. Change is bad.

    Sarcasm in case you didn't see that.

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