State-of-the-art climate models were used to simulate climate conditions in Europe during Greenland Stadial (GS) 12 at 44 ka BP. The models employed for these simulations were: (i) a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean global climate model (AOGCM), and (ii) a regional atmospheric climate model (RCM) to dynamically downscale results from the global model for a more detailed investigation of European climate conditions. The vegetation was simulated off-line by a dynamic vegetation model forced by the climate from the RCM. The resulting vegetation was then compared with the a priori vegetation used in the first simulation. In a subsequent step, the RCM was rerun to yield a new climate more consistent with the simulated vegetation. Forcing conditions included orbital forcing, land-sea distribution, ice-sheet configuration, and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations representative for 44 ka BP. The results show a cold climate on the global scale, with global annual mean surface temperatures 5 degrees C colder than the modern climate. This is still significantly warmer than temperatures derived from the same model system for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Regional, northern European climate is much colder than today, but still significantly warmer than during the LGM. Comparisons between the simulated climate and proxy-based sea-surface temperature reconstructions show that the results are in broad agreement, albeit with a possible cold bias in parts of the North Atlantic in summer. Given a prescribed restricted Marine Isotope Stage 3 ice-sheet configuration, with large ice-free regions in Sweden and Finland, the AOGCM and RCM model simulations produce a cold and dry climate in line with the restricted ice-sheet configuration during GS 12. The simulated temperature climate, with prescribed ice-free conditions in south-central Fennoscandia, is favourable for the development of permafrost, but does not allow local ice-sheet formation as all snow melts during summer.
2010. Vol. 39, no 2, 436-456 p.