A multi-model assessment of last interglacial temperatures
Abe- Ouchi, A.
Krebs- Kanzow, U.
Otto- Bliesner, B.
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The Last Interglaciation (∼130 to 116 ka) is a time period with a strong astronomically-induced seasonal forcing of insolation compared to modern. Proxy records indicate a significantly different climate to that of the modern, in particular Arctic summer warming and higher eustatic sea level. Because the forcings are relatively well constrained, it provides an opportunity to test numerical models which are used for future climate prediction. In this paper, we compile a set of climate model simulations of the early Last Interglaciation (130 to 125 ka), encompassing a range of model complexity. We compare the models to each other, and to a recently published compilation of Last Interglacial temperature estimates. We show that the annual mean response of the models is rather small, with no clear signal in many regions. However, the seasonal response is more robust, and there is significant agreement amongst models as to the regions of warming vs. cooling. However, the quantitative agreement of the models with data is poor, with the models in general underestimating the magnitude of response seen in the proxies. Taking possible seasonal biases in the proxies into account improves the agreement marginally, but the agreement is still far from perfect. However, a lack of uncertainty estimates in the data does not allow us to draw firm conclusions. Instead, this paper points to several ways in which both modelling and data could be improved, to allow a more robust model-data comparison.