Putting the Past to Work: Driving Ecosystem Models with Mid-Pliocene Patterns of Warming

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Peter Jacobs and Kim de Mutsert, George Mason University, Environmental Science and Policy, Fairfax, VA, United States
The Plicoene epoch, and the mid-Pliocene Warm Period (mPWP) in particular, are widely-cited as analogs for near-future anthropogenic warming, due to elevated GHG levels but similar boundary conditions in other respects. This has led to a great deal of interest in the mechanisms and spatio-temporal patterns of Pliocene warmth and sea level rise, as well as interest in how the Pliocene can constrain climate sensitivity. The Pliocene has also been used to identify potential biases or missing processes in climate models (through model-proxy reconstruction comparisons). To date, however, there has been little focus on exploiting the model-reconstruction disagreements in order to better inform policymaking, by providing alternative scenarios beyond those produced by models alone. We drive a marine ecosystem model of the North Atlantic Ocean with state of the art climate model output from the CMIP5 archive, as well as conditions derived from the PRISM multiproxy reconstruction of mid-Pliocene SSTs, in order to assess the impact future warming spatially-resembling the Pliocene will have on fisheries relative to warming anticipated by climate models.