Comparison of mid-Pliocene climate predictions produced by the HadAM3 and GCMAM3 General Circulation Models

Alan Haywood, Mark Chandler, Paul Valdes, Ulrich Salzmann, Daniel Lunt, Harry Dowsett

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67 Citations (Scopus)


The mid-Pliocene warm period (ca. 3 to 3.3 million years ago) has become an important interval of time for palaeoclimate modelling exercises, with a large number of studies published during the last decade. However, there has been no attempt to assess the degree of model dependency of the results obtained. Here we present an initial comparison of mid-Pliocene climatologies produced by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research atmosphere-only General Circulation Models (GCMAM3 and HadAM3). Whilst both models are consistent in the simulation of broad-scale differences in mid-Pliocene surface air temperature and total precipitation rates, significant variation is noted on regional and local scales. There are also significant differences in the model predictions of total cloud cover. A terrestrial data/model comparison, facilitated by the BIOME 4 model and a new data set of Piacenzian Stage land cover [Salzmann, U., Haywood, A.M., Lunt, D.J., Valdes, P.J., Hill, D.J., (2008). A new global biome reconstruction and data model comparison for the Middle Pliocene. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17, 432-447, doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00381.x] and combined with the use of Kappa statistics, indicates that HadAM3-based biome predictions provide a closer fit to proxy data in the mid to high-latitudes. However, GCMAM3-based biomes in the tropics provide the closest fit to proxy data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-224
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


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