Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-186
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-186
 
17 Jan 2022
17 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal CP and is expected to appear here in due course.

The Warm Winter Paradox in the Pliocene High Latitudes

Julia C. Tindall1, Alan M. Haywood1, Ulrich Salzmann2, Aisling M. Dolan1, and Tamara Fletcher1 Julia C. Tindall et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2Department of Geography, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK

Abstract. Reconciling palaeodata with model simulations of the Pliocene climate is essential for understanding a world with atmospheric CO2 concentration near 400 parts per million by volume. Both models and data indicate an amplified warming of the high latitudes during the Pliocene, however terrestrial data suggests Pliocene high latitude temperatures were much higher than can be simulated by models.

Here we show that understanding the Pliocene high latitude terrestrial temperatures is particularly difficult for the coldest months, where the temperatures obtained from models and different proxies can vary by more than 20 °C. We refer to this mismatch as the ‘warm winter paradox’.

Analysis suggests the warm winter paradox could be due to a number of factors including: model structural uncertainty, proxy data not being strongly constrained by winter temperatures, uncertainties on data reconstruction methods and also that the Pliocene high latitude climate does not have a modern analogue. Refinements to model boundary conditions or proxy dating are unlikely to contribute significantly to the resolution of the warm winter paradox.

For the Pliocene, high latitude, terrestrial, summer temperatures, models and different proxies are in good agreement. Those factors which cause uncertainty on winter temperatures are shown to be much less important for the summer. Until some of the uncertainties on winter, high latitude, Pliocene temperatures can be reduced, we suggest a data-model comparison should focus on the summer. This is expected to give more meaningful and accurate results than a data-model comparison which focuses on the annual mean.

Julia C. Tindall et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • EC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Wing-Le Chan, 08 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on EC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Arthur Oldeman, 10 Feb 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Feb 2022
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC2', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • EC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Wing-Le Chan, 08 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on EC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Arthur Oldeman, 10 Feb 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2021-186', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Feb 2022
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC2', Julia Tindall, 12 Apr 2022

Julia C. Tindall et al.

Julia C. Tindall et al.

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Latest update: 20 May 2022
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Short summary
The mid-Pliocene (MP; ~3.0 Ma), had CO2 levels similar to today, and average temperatures ~3 °C warmer. At terrestrial high latitudes, MP temperatures from climate models are much lower than those reconstructed from data. This mismatch occurs in the winter, but not the summer. The winter model-data mismatch likely has multiple causes. One novel cause is that the MP climate may be outside the modern sample, and errors could occur when using information from the modern to reconstruct climate.