Comparison of the last interglacial climate simulated by a coupled global model of intermediate complexity and an AOGCM

Research paper by C. Kubatzki, M. Montoya, S. Rahmstorf, A. Ganopolski, M. Claussen

Indexed on: 01 Oct '00Published on: 01 Oct '00Published in: Climate Dynamics


 The climate at the Last Interglacial Maximum (125 000 years before present) is investigated with the atmosphere-ocean general circulation model ECHAM-1/LSG and with the climate system model of intermediate complexity CLIMBER-2. Comparison of the results of the two models reveals broad agreement in most large-scale features, but also some discrepancies. The fast turnaround time of CLIMBER-2 permits one to perform a number of sensitivity experiments to (1) investigate the possible reasons for these differences, in particular the impact of different freshwater fluxes to the ocean, (2) analyze the sensitivity of the results to changes in the definition of the modern reference run concerning CO2 levels (preindustrial versus “present”), and (3) estimate the role of vegetation in the changed climate. Interactive vegetation turns out to be capable of modifying the initial climate signals significantly, leading especially to warmer winters in large parts of the Northern Hemisphere, as indicated by various paleodata. Differences due to changes in the atmospheric CO2 content and due to interactive vegetation are shown to be at least of the same order of magnitude as differences between the two completely different models, demonstrating the importance of careful experimental design.