The relative roles of CO2 and palaeogeography in determining Late Miocene climate: results from a terrestrial model-data comparison

Catherine Bradshaw, Daniel Lunt, Rachel Flecker, Ulrich Salzmann, Matthew Pound, Alan Haywood, Jussi Eronen

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Abstract

The Late Miocene (∼11.6–5.3 Ma) palaeorecord provides evidence for a warmer and wetter climate than that of today and there is uncertainty in the palaeo-CO2 record of at least 150 ppmv. We present results from fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-vegetation simulations for the Late Miocene that examine the relative roles of palaeogeography (topography and ice sheet geometry) and CO2 concentration in the determination of Late Miocene climate through comprehensive terrestrial model-data comparisons. Assuming that the data accurately reflects the Late Miocene climate, and that the Late Miocene palaeogeographic reconstruction used in the model is robust, then results indicate that the proxy-derived precipitation differences between the Late Miocene and modern can be largely accounted for by the palaeogeographic changes alone. However, the proxy-derived temperatures differences between the Late Miocene and modern can only begin to be accounted for if we assume a palaeo-CO2 concentration towards the higher end of the range of estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-786
JournalClimate of the Past
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2012

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