Articles | Volume 5, issue 4
21 Dec 2009
 | 21 Dec 2009

On the importance of paleoclimate modelling for improving predictions of future climate change

J. C. Hargreaves and J. D. Annan

Abstract. We use an ensemble of runs from the MIROC3.2 AGCM with slab-ocean to explore the extent to which mid-Holocene simulations are relevant to predictions of future climate change. The results are compared with similar analyses for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and pre-industrial control climate. We suggest that the paleoclimate epochs can provide some independent validation of the models that is also relevant for future predictions. Considering the paleoclimate epochs, we find that the stronger global forcing and hence larger climate change at the LGM makes this likely to be the more powerful one for estimating the large-scale changes that are anticipated due to anthropogenic forcing. The phenomena in the mid-Holocene simulations which are most strongly correlated with future changes (i.e., the mid to high northern latitude land temperature and monsoon precipitation) do, however, coincide with areas where the LGM results are not correlated with future changes, and these are also areas where the paleodata indicate significant climate changes have occurred. Thus, these regions and phenomena for the mid-Holocene may be useful for model improvement and validation.