Statistical framework for evaluation of climate model simulations by use of climate proxy data from the last millennium – Part 2: A pseudo-proxy study addressing the amplitude of solar forcing
Abstract. The statistical framework of Part 1 (Sundberg et al., 2012), for comparing ensemble simulation surface temperature output with temperature proxy and instrumental records, is implemented in a pseudo-proxy experiment. A set of previously published millennial forced simulations (Max Planck Institute – COSMOS), including both "low" and "high" solar radiative forcing histories together with other important forcings, was used to define "true" target temperatures as well as pseudo-proxy and pseudo-instrumental series. In a global land-only experiment, using annual mean temperatures at a 30-yr time resolution with realistic proxy noise levels, it was found that the low and high solar full-forcing simulations could be distinguished. In an additional experiment, where pseudo-proxies were created to reflect a current set of proxy locations and noise levels, the low and high solar forcing simulations could only be distinguished when the latter served as targets. To improve detectability of the low solar simulations, increasing the signal-to-noise ratio in local temperature proxies was more efficient than increasing the spatial coverage of the proxy network. The experiences gained here will be of guidance when these methods are applied to real proxy and instrumental data, for example when the aim is to distinguish which of the alternative solar forcing histories is most compatible with the observed/reconstructed climate.