Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 12, 151-170, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-151-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
29 Jan 2016
The effect of a dynamic soil scheme on the climate of the mid-Holocene and the Last Glacial Maximum
M. Stärz1,2,3, G. Lohmann1,4, and G. Knorr1 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
2Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (LOEWE BiK-F), Frankfurt am Main, Germany
4University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Abstract. In order to account for coupled climate–soil processes, we have developed a soil scheme which is asynchronously coupled to a comprehensive climate model with dynamic vegetation. This scheme considers vegetation as the primary control of changes in physical soil characteristics. We test the scheme for a warmer (mid-Holocene) and colder (Last Glacial Maximum) climate relative to the preindustrial climate. We find that the computed changes in physical soil characteristics lead to significant amplification of global climate anomalies, representing a positive feedback. The inclusion of the soil feedback yields an extra surface warming of 0.24 °C for the mid-Holocene and an additional global cooling of 1.07 °C for the Last Glacial Maximum. Transition zones such as desert–savannah and taiga–tundra exhibit a pronounced response in the model version with dynamic soil properties. Energy balance model analyses reveal that our soil scheme amplifies the temperature anomalies in the mid-to-high northern latitudes via changes in the planetary albedo and the effective longwave emissivity. As a result of the modified soil treatment and the positive feedback to climate, part of the underestimated mid-Holocene temperature response to orbital forcing can be reconciled in the model.

Citation: Stärz, M., Lohmann, G., and Knorr, G.: The effect of a dynamic soil scheme on the climate of the mid-Holocene and the Last Glacial Maximum, Clim. Past, 12, 151-170, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-151-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
In order to account for coupled climate-soil processes, we developed a soil scheme which is asynchronously coupled to an earth system model. We tested the scheme and found additional warming for a relatively warm climate (mid-Holocene), and extra cooling for a colder (Last Glacial Maximum) than preindustrial climate. These findings indicate a relatively strong positive soil feedback to climate, which may help to reduce model-data discrepancies for the climate of the geological past.
In order to account for coupled climate-soil processes, we developed a soil scheme which is...
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