Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Clim. Past, 7, 649–670, 2011
Clim. Past, 7, 649–670, 2011

Research article 22 Jun 2011

Research article | 22 Jun 2011

A coupled climate model simulation of Marine Isotope Stage 3 stadial climate

J. Brandefelt1, E. Kjellström2, J.-O. Näslund3, G. Strandberg4, A. H. L. Voelker5, and B. Wohlfarth6 J. Brandefelt et al.
  • 1Linné Flow Centre, Department of Mechanics, KTH, 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
  • 3Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co (SKB), Box 5864, 10240 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
  • 5LNEG – Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia, Unidade de Geologia Marinha, Estrada da Portela, Zambujal, 2610-143 Amadora, Portugal
  • 6Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, 10961 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract. We present a coupled global climate model (CGCM) simulation, integrated for 1500 yr to quasi-equilibrium, of a stadial (cold period) within Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3). The simulated Greenland stadial 12 (GS12; ~44 ka BP) annual global mean surface temperature (Ts) is 5.5 °C lower than in the simulated recent past (RP) climate and 1.3 °C higher than in the simulated Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 21 ka BP) climate. The simulated GS12 is evaluated against proxy data and previous modelling studies of MIS3 stadial climate. We show that the simulated MIS 3 climate, and hence conclusions drawn regarding the dynamics of this climate, is highly model-dependent. The main findings are: (i) Proxy sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are higher than simulated SSTs in the central North Atlantic, in contrast to earlier simulations of MIS 3 stadial climate in which proxy SSTs were found to be lower than simulated SST. (ii) The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) slows down by 50 % in the GS12 climate as compared to the RP climate. This slowdown is attained without freshwater forcing in the North Atlantic region, a method used in other studies to force an AMOC shutdown. (iii) El-Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) teleconnections in mean sea level pressure (MSLP) are significantly modified by GS12 and LGM forcing and boundary conditions. (iv) Both the mean state and variability of the simulated GS12 is dependent on the equilibration. The annual global mean Ts only changes by 0.10 °C from model years 500–599 to the last century of the simulation, indicating that the climate system may be close to equilibrium already after 500 yr of integration. However, significant regional differences between the last century of the simulation and model years 500–599 exist. Further, the difference between simulated and proxy SST is reduced from model years 500–599 to the last century of the simulation. The results of the ENSO variability analysis is also shown to depend on the equilibration.