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A new multivariable benchmark for Last Glacial Maximum climate simulations

Cleator, S. F.,, Harrison, S. P., Nichols, N. K., Prentice, I. C. and Roulstone, I. (2020) A new multivariable benchmark for Last Glacial Maximum climate simulations. Climate of the Past, 16. pp. 699-712. ISSN 1814-9324

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/cp-16-699-2020


We present a new global reconstruction of seasonal climates at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21,000 yr BP) made using 3-D variational data assimilation with pollen-based site reconstructions of six climate variables and the ensemble average of the PMIP3/CMIP5 simulations as a prior. We assume that the correlation matrix of the errors of the prior both spatially and temporally is Gaussian, in order to produce a climate reconstruction that is smoothed both from month to month and from grid cell to grid cell. The pollen-based reconstructions include mean annual temperature (MAT), mean temperature of the coldest month (MTCO), mean temperature of the warmest month (MTWA), growing season warmth as measured by growing degree days above a baseline of 5°C (GDD5), mean annual precipitation (MAP) and a moisture index (MI), which is the ratio of MAP to mean annual potential evapotranspiration. Different variables are reconstructed at different sites, but our approach both preserves seasonal relationships and allows a more complete set of seasonal climate variables to be derived at each location. We further account for the ecophysiological effects of low atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on vegetation in making reconstructions of MAP and MI. This adjustment results in the reconstruction of wetter climates than might otherwise be inferred by the vegetation composition. Finally, by comparing the error contribution to the final reconstruction, we provide confidence intervals on these reconstructions and delimit geographical regions for which the palaeodata provide no information to constrain the climate reconstructions. The new reconstructions will provide a robust benchmark for evaluation of the PMIP4/CMIP6 entry-card LGM simulations.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:88324
Publisher:Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union


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