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An introduction to stable water isotopes in climate models: benefits of forward proxy modelling for paleoclimatology
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Geochemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
University of Colorado.
2010 (English)In: Climate of the past, ISSN 1814-9332, Vol. 6, 115-129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Stable water isotopes have been measured in a wide range of climate archives, with the purpose of reconstructing regional climate variations. Yet the common assumption that the isotopic signal is a direct indicator of temperature proves to be misleading under certain circumstances, since its relationship with temperature also depends on e.g. atmospheric circulation and precipitation seasonality. The present article introduces the principles, benefits and caveats of using climate models with embedded water isotopes as a support for the interpretation of isotopic climate archives. A short overview of the limitations of empirical calibrations of isotopic proxy records is presented, with emphasis on the physical processes that infirm its underlying hypotheses. The simulation of climate and its associated isotopic signal, despite difficulties related to downscaling and intrinsic atmospheric variability, can provide a "transfer function" between the isotopic signal and the considered climate variable. The multi-proxy data can then be combined with model output to produce a physically consistent climate reconstruction and its confidence interval. A sensitivity study with the isotope-enabled global circulation model CAM3iso under idealised present-day, pre-industrial and mid-Holocene is presented to illustrate the impact of a changing climate on the isotope-temperature relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
European Geophysical Union , 2010. Vol. 6, 115-129 p.
Keyword [en]
water isotopes, 18O, climate modelling, d18O-T relationship
National Category
Geology Climate Research
Research subject
Quarternary Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33224DOI: 10.5194/cp-6-115-2010OAI: diva2:282736
Holocene climate variability
Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-21 Last updated: 2010-12-27Bibliographically approved

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Sturm, ChristopheZhang, Qiong
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