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