What can we learn from the Paleo-Records about Future Arctic Climate Change?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Bruno Tremblay, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, David B Huard, David Huard Solutions, Quebec City, QC, Canada, Gavin A Schmidt, NASA/GISS, New York, NY, United States and Anne de Vernal, University of Quebec at Montreal UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5), include historical simulations from the 20th century, future climate simulations following different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) for the 21st Century and beyond, and, for the first time in CMIP, three sets of paleo-climate simulations of the recent past for which more paleo-proxi-data exist. We use simulations of the Mid-Holocene (MH) climate (6K BP) from General Circulation Models participating in CMIP5 to constrain future projections of Arctic climate change by the same models. During the Mid-Holocene, the Arctic received approximately 50 W/m2 more solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere during summer, a similar increase to what is projected from greenhouse gas forcing for the middle of the 21st century. The constraint in our analysis arise from a measure of the ability of GCMs to hindcast MH climate using a suite of both land paleo-records – which are much more abundant for high latitudes than ocean proxy - and ocean paleo-record. Results show that GCMs with skill at simulating the MH climate and today’s climate give more realistic future projections of the sea ice decline in forced climate simulations of the 21st century participating in the IPCC-AR5.