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Climate of the last millennium: ensemble consistency of simulations and reconstructions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
2013 (English)In: Climate of the Past, ISSN 1814-9324, E-ISSN 1814-9332, Vol. 9, no 3, 1089-1110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Are simulations and reconstructions of past climate and its variability consistent with each other? We assess the consistency of simulations and reconstructions for the climate of the last millennium under the paradigm of a statistically indistinguishable ensemble. In this type of analysis, the null hypothesis is that reconstructions and simulations are statistically indistinguishable and, therefore, are exchangeable with each other. Ensemble consistency is assessed for Northern Hemisphere mean temperature, Central European mean temperature and for global temperature fields. Reconstructions available for these regions serve as verification data for a set of simulations of the climate of the last millennium performed at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Consistency is generally limited to some sub-domains and some sub-periods. Only the ensemble simulated and reconstructed annual Central European mean temperatures for the second half of the last millennium demonstrates unambiguous consistency. Furthermore, we cannot exclude consistency of an ensemble of reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature with the simulation ensemble mean. If we treat simulations and reconstructions as equitable hypotheses about past climate variability, the found general lack of their consistency weakens our confidence in inferences about past climate evolutions on the considered spatial and temporal scales. That is, our available estimates of past climate evolutions are on an equal footing but, as shown here, inconsistent with each other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 9, no 3, 1089-1110 p.
National Category
Geology Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93596DOI: 10.5194/cp-9-1089-2013ISI: 000322859700007OAI: diva2:647035


Funding Agencies:

Cluster of Excellence "CliSAP", University of Hamburg;  German Science Foundation (DFG);  ENIGMA project of the Max Planck Society;  Federal Ministry for Education and Research in Germany (BMBF) through the research program "MiKlip" FKZ:01LP1158A 

Available from: 2013-09-10 Created: 2013-09-10 Last updated: 2013-09-10Bibliographically approved

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