Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
Research article
19 Jul 2017
Research article |  | 19 Jul 2017

Regional and global climate for the mid-Pliocene using the University of Toronto version of CCSM4 and PlioMIP2 boundary conditions

Deepak Chandan and W. Richard Peltier

Abstract. The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2 (PlioMIP2) is an international collaboration to simulate the climate of the mid-Pliocene interglacial, corresponding to marine isotope stage KM5c (3.205 Mya), using a wide selection of climate models with the objective of understanding the nature of the warming that is known to have occurred during the broader mid-Pliocene warm period. PlioMIP2 builds on the successes of PlioMIP by shifting the focus to a specific interglacial and using a revised set of geographic and orbital boundary conditions. In this paper, we present the details of the mid-Pliocene simulations that we have performed with a slightly modified version of the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) and the enhanced variant of the PlioMIP2 boundary conditions. We discuss the simulated climatology through comparisons to our control simulations and to proxy reconstructions of the mid-Pliocene climate. With the new boundary conditions, the University of Toronto version of the CCSM4 model simulates a mid-Pliocene that is more than twice as warm as that with the boundary conditions used for PlioMIP Phase 1. The warming is more enhanced near the high latitudes, which is where most of the changes to the PlioMIP2 boundary conditions have been made. The elevated warming in the high latitudes leads to a better match between the simulated climatology and proxy-based reconstructions than possible with the previous version of the boundary conditions.

Short summary
This paper discusses the climate of the mid-Pliocene warm period (~ 3.3–3 Mya) obtained using coupled climate simulations at CMIP5 resolution with the CCSM4 model and the boundary conditions (BCs) prescribed for the PlioMIP2 program. It is found that climate simulations performed with these BCs capture the warming patterns inferred from proxy data much better than what was possible with the BCs for the original PlioMIP program.