On the identification of a Pliocene time slice for data-model comparison

Alan M. Haywood*, Aisling M. Dolan, Steven J. Pickering, Harry J. Dowsett, Erin L. McClymont, Caroline L. Prescott, Ulrich Salzmann, Daniel J. Hill, Stephen J. Hunter, Daniel J. Lunt, James O. Pope, Paul J. Valdes

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Abstract

The characteristics of the mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP: 3.264-3.025MaBP) have been examined using geological proxies and climate models. While there is agreement between models and data, details of regional climate differ. Uncertainties in prescribed forcings and in proxy data limit the utility of the interval to understand the dynamics of a warmer than present climate or evaluate models. This uncertainty comes, in part, from the reconstruction of a time slab rather than a time slice, where forcings required by climate models can be more adequately constrained. Here, we describe the rationale and approach for identifying a time slice(s) for Pliocene environmental reconstruction. A time slice centred on 3.205 Ma BP (3.204-3.207 Ma BP) has been identified as a priority for investigation. It is a warm interval characterized by a negative benthic oxygen isotope excursion (0.21-0.23 parts per thousand) centred on marine isotope stage KM5c (KM5.3). It occurred during a period of orbital forcing that was very similar to present day. Climate model simulations indicate that proxy temperature estimates are unlikely to be significantly affected by orbital forcing for at least a precession cycle centred on the time slice, with the North Atlantic potentially being an important exception.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20120515
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume371
Issue number2001
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Pliocene
  • climate models
  • climate sensitivity
  • Earth system sensitivity
  • SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURES
  • GENERAL-CIRCULATION MODEL
  • MIDDLE PLIOCENE
  • ICE-SHEET
  • INSOLATION QUANTITIES
  • JOINT INVESTIGATIONS
  • EXPERIMENTAL-DESIGN
  • BOUNDARY-CONDITIONS
  • ARCTIC-OCEAN
  • WARM PERIOD

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