Peter Hopcroft (Uni. Birmingham, UK)
Conditioning a climate model with paleoclimate reconstructions so that it resolves a tipping point
The ‘Greening’ of the Sahara during the Holocene is a particularly dramatic natural environmental change. Although it is well understood that the slow variations in Earth’s orbit caused this transition, climate models have largely failed to convincingly reproduce it. Having conditioned one climate model with the climatic state in North Africa for the mid-Holocene at 6000 years ago, we performed a series of transient simulations covering the last 10,000 years. The results show abrupt changes that replicate features seen in long paleoclimate records. We will discuss how this approach differs from other paleoclimate modelling studies, how the results are sensitive to a range of climatic forcings operating during this time. We’ll conclude with a brief discussion of how this may approach might be applied in other settings.