The seasonal effect in one-dimensional Daisyworld

Eli Biton*, Hezi Gildor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We have studied the effects of seasonal Solar Radiation Forcing (SRF) on the climate self-regulatory capability of life, using a latitudinal-dependent Daisyworld model. Because the seasonal polarity of SRF increases poleward, habitable conditions exist in the equatorial regions year round, whereas, in the high latitudes, harsh winters cause annual extinction of life, and only the summers are inhabited or regulated by life. Seasonality affects climate regulation by two major mechanisms: (1) the cold winter conditions in the high latitudes reduce the global temperature below the optimal temperature; (2) during summer, life experiences higher SRF anomalies and, therefore, shifts to higher albedo when compared to annual mean SRF. In turn, a full capacity for temperature regulation is reached at lower SRF, and the range of SRF over which life regulates climate is significantly reduced. Lastly, initiation/extinction of life at low/highly-perturbed SRF occurs at the poles. Therefore, an irreversible global extinction occurs once life passes its regulatory capacity in the poles. We conduct extensive sensitivity analyses on various model parameters (latitudinal heat diffusion, heat capacity, and population death rate), strengthening the generality/robustness of the above net seasonal effects. Applications to other SRF fluctuation, as Milankovitch cycles are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - 7 Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank three anonymous reviewers for useful comments. HG is supported by the ISF. Appendix A


  • Climate regulation
  • Feedback
  • Gaia
  • Solar radiation seasonality


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