Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 12, 663-675, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Mar 2016
The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) Phase 2: scientific objectives and experimental design
Alan M. Haywood1, Harry J. Dowsett2, Aisling M. Dolan1, David Rowley3, Ayako Abe-Ouchi4, Bette Otto-Bliesner5, Mark A. Chandler6, Stephen J. Hunter1, Daniel J. Lunt7, Matthew Pound8, and Ulrich Salzmann8 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
2Eastern Geology & Paleoclimate Science Center, US Geological Survey, MS 926A, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192, USA
3Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
4Center for Climate System Research (CCSR), University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
5CCR, CGD/NCAR, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA
6NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, USA
7School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS, UK
8Department of Geography, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Ellison Building, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK
Abstract. The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) is a co-ordinated international climate modelling initiative to study and understand climate and environments of the Late Pliocene, as well as their potential relevance in the context of future climate change. PlioMIP examines the consistency of model predictions in simulating Pliocene climate and their ability to reproduce climate signals preserved by geological climate archives. Here we provide a description of the aim and objectives of the next phase of the model intercomparison project (PlioMIP Phase 2), and we present the experimental design and boundary conditions that will be utilized for climate model experiments in Phase 2.

Following on from PlioMIP Phase 1, Phase 2 will continue to be a mechanism for sampling structural uncertainty within climate models. However, Phase 1 demonstrated the requirement to better understand boundary condition uncertainties as well as uncertainty in the methodologies used for data–model comparison. Therefore, our strategy for Phase 2 is to utilize state-of-the-art boundary conditions that have emerged over the last 5 years. These include a new palaeogeographic reconstruction, detailing ocean bathymetry and land–ice surface topography. The ice surface topography is built upon the lessons learned from offline ice sheet modelling studies. Land surface cover has been enhanced by recent additions of Pliocene soils and lakes. Atmospheric reconstructions of palaeo-CO2 are emerging on orbital timescales, and these are also incorporated into PlioMIP Phase 2. New records of surface and sea surface temperature change are being produced that will be more temporally consistent with the boundary conditions and forcings used within models.

Finally we have designed a suite of prioritized experiments that tackle issues surrounding the basic understanding of the Pliocene and its relevance in the context of future climate change in a discrete way.

Citation: Haywood, A. M., Dowsett, H. J., Dolan, A. M., Rowley, D., Abe-Ouchi, A., Otto-Bliesner, B., Chandler, M. A., Hunter, S. J., Lunt, D. J., Pound, M., and Salzmann, U.: The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) Phase 2: scientific objectives and experimental design, Clim. Past, 12, 663-675, doi:10.5194/cp-12-663-2016, 2016.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Our paper presents the experimental design for the second phase of the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP). We outline the way in which climate models should be set up in order to study the Pliocene – a period of global warmth in Earth's history which is relevant for our understanding of future climate change. By conducting a model intercomparison we hope to understand the uncertainty associated with model predictions of a warmer climate.
Our paper presents the experimental design for the second phase of the Pliocene Model...