Visualization
ES1506  Observe changes in Earth's orbit that contribute to climate change.

Three characteristics of Earth's orbital motion change slightly over long periods of time. These cyclical changes cause differences in the amount of sunlight the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive. Analysis of deep-sea sediments has shown that these changes are closely associated with climate change.

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Precession—the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation.
Eccentricity—the shape of Earth's orbit around the sun.
Obliquity—the angle between Earth's axis and a line perpendicular to the orbital plane.