Arctic sea ice simulation in the PlioMIP ensemble
Abstract. Eight general circulation models have simulated the mid-Pliocene warm period (mid-Pliocene, 3.264 to 3.025 Ma) as part of the Pliocene Modelling Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP). Here, we analyse and compare their simulation of Arctic sea ice for both the pre-industrial period and the mid-Pliocene. Mid-Pliocene sea ice thickness and extent is reduced, and the model spread of extent is more than twice the pre-industrial spread in some summer months. Half of the PlioMIP models simulate ice-free conditions in the mid-Pliocene. This spread amongst the ensemble is in line with the uncertainties amongst proxy reconstructions for mid-Pliocene sea ice extent. Correlations between mid-Pliocene Arctic temperatures and sea ice extents are almost twice as strong as the equivalent correlations for the pre-industrial simulations. The need for more comprehensive sea ice proxy data is highlighted, in order to better compare model performances.