Arctic sea ice simulation in the PlioMIP ensemble

F. W. Howell, A. M. Haywood, B. L. Otto-Bliesner, F. Bragg, W. L. Chan, M. A. Chandler, C. Contoux, Y. Kamae, A. Abe-Ouchi, N. A. Rosenbloom, C. Stepanek, Z. S. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Eight general circulation models have simulated the mid-Pliocene warm period (mid-Pliocene, 3.264 to 3.025 Ma) as part of the Pliocene Modelling Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP). Here, we analyse and compare their simulation of Arctic sea ice for both the pre-industrial period and the mid-Pliocene. Mid-Pliocene sea ice thickness and extent is reduced, and the model spread of extent is more than twice the pre-industrial spread in some summer months. Half of the PlioMIP models simulate ice-free conditions in the mid-Pliocene. This spread amongst the ensemble is in line with the uncertainties amongst proxy reconstructions for mid-Pliocene sea ice extent. Correlations between mid-Pliocene Arctic temperatures and sea ice extents are almost twice as strong as the equivalent correlations for the pre-industrial simulations. The need for more comprehensive sea ice proxy data is highlighted, in order to better compare model performances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-767
Number of pages19
JournalClimate of the Past
Issue number3
Early online date23 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • model intercomparison project
  • mid-pliocene climate
  • meridional
  • overturning circulation coupled model experimental-design
  • warm period ocean cover
  • variability thickness


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