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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 4
Clim. Past, 9, 1789–1806, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Progress in paleoclimate modelling

Clim. Past, 9, 1789–1806, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 02 Aug 2013

Research article | 02 Aug 2013

The last interglacial (Eemian) climate simulated by LOVECLIM and CCSM3

I. Nikolova, Q. Yin, A. Berger, U. K. Singh, and M. P. Karami I. Nikolova et al.
  • George Lemaitre Centre for Earth and Climate Research, Earth and Life Institute, Universite Catholique de Louvain, 3 Place Louis Pasteur, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the climate of the last interglacial simulated by two climate models of different complexities, CCSM3 (Community Climate System Model 3) and LOVECLIM (LOch-Vecode-Ecbilt-CLio-agIsm Model). The simulated surface temperature, hydrological cycle, vegetation and ENSO variability during the last interglacial are analyzed through the comparison with the simulated pre-industrial (PI) climate. In both models, the last interglacial period is characterized by a significant warming (cooling) over almost all the continents during boreal summer (winter) leading to a largely increased (reduced) seasonal contrast in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere. This is mainly due to the much higher (lower) insolation received by the whole Earth in boreal summer (winter) during this interglacial. The Arctic is warmer than PI through the whole year, resulting from its much higher summer insolation, its remnant effect in the following fall-winter through the interactions between atmosphere, ocean and sea ice and feedbacks from sea ice and snow cover. Discrepancies exist in the sea-ice formation zones between the two models. Cooling is simulated by CCSM3 in the Greenland and Norwegian seas and near the shelves of Antarctica during DJF but not in LOVECLIM as a result of excessive sea-ice formation. Intensified African monsoon is responsible for the cooling during summer in northern Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula. Over India, the precipitation maximum is found further west, while in Africa the precipitation maximum migrates further north. Trees and grassland expand north in Sahel/Sahara, more clearly seen in LOVECLIM than in CCSM3 results. A mix of forest and grassland occupies continents and expands deep into the high northern latitudes. Desert areas reduce significantly in the Northern Hemisphere, but increase in northern Australia. The interannual SST variability of the tropical Pacific (El-Niño Southern Oscillation) of the last interglacial simulated by CCSM3 shows slightly larger variability and magnitude compared to the PI. However, the SST variability in our LOVECLIM simulations is particularly small due to the overestimated thermocline's depth.

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