Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Clim. Past, 7, 917–933, 2011
Clim. Past, 7, 917–933, 2011

Research article 22 Aug 2011

Research article | 22 Aug 2011

Are paleoclimate model ensembles consistent with the MARGO data synthesis?

J. C. Hargreaves1, A. Paul2, R. Ohgaito1, A. Abe-Ouchi1,3, and J. D. Annan1 J. C. Hargreaves et al.
  • 1RIGC/JAMSTEC, Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences, Yokohama, Japan
  • 2MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Science and Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Germany
  • 3AORI, University of Tokyo, Japan

Abstract. We investigate the consistency of various ensembles of climate model simulations with the Multiproxy Approach for the Reconstruction of the Glacial Ocean Surface (MARGO) sea surface temperature data synthesis. We discover that while two multi-model ensembles, created through the Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Projects (PMIP and PMIP2), pass our simple tests of reliability, an ensemble based on parameter variation in a single model does not perform so well. We show that accounting for observational uncertainty in the MARGO database is of prime importance for correctly evaluating the ensembles. Perhaps surprisingly, the inclusion of a coupled dynamical ocean (compared to the use of a slab ocean) does not appear to cause a wider spread in the sea surface temperature anomalies, but rather causes systematic changes with more heat transported north in the Atlantic. There is weak evidence that the sea surface temperature data may be more consistent with meridional overturning in the North Atlantic being similar for the LGM and the present day. However, the small size of the PMIP2 ensemble prevents any statistically significant results from being obtained.