The relative roles of CO 2 and palaeogeography in determining late Miocene climate: results from a terrestrial model–data comparison

Bradshaw, C. D.; Lunt, D. J.; Flecker, R.; Salzmann, U.; Pound, M. J.; Haywood, A. M.; Eronen, J. T.

The late Miocene palaeorecord provides evidence for a warmer and wetter climate than that of today, and there is uncertainty in the palaeo-CO 2 record of at least 200 ppm. We present results from fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-vegetation simulations for the late Miocene that examine the relative roles of palaeogeography (topography and ice sheet geometry) and CO 2 concentration in the determination of late Miocene climate through comprehensive terrestrial model-data comparisons. Assuming that these data accurately reflect the late Miocene climate, and that the late Miocene palaeogeographic reconstruction used in the model is robust, then results indicate that:

1. Both palaeogeography and atmospheric CO 2 contribute to the proxy-derived precipitation differences between the late Miocene and modern reference climates. However these contributions exibit synergy and so do not add linearly.

2. The vast majority of the proxy-derived temperature differences between the late Miocene and modern reference climates can only be accounted for if we assume a palaeo-CO 2 concentration towards the higher end of the range of estimates.

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Bradshaw, C. D. / Lunt, D. J. / Flecker, R. / et al: The relative roles of CO2 and palaeogeography in determining late Miocene climate: results from a terrestrial model–data comparison. 2012. Copernicus Publications.

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