Clim. Past Discuss., 5, 29-71, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in CP.
Impacts of land surface properties and atmospheric CO2 on the Last Glacial Maximum climate: a factor separation analysis
A.-J. Henrot1, L. François2, S. Brewer2,*, and G. Munhoven1
1Laboratory of Atmospheric and Planetary Physics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
2Unité de Modélisation du Climat et des Cycles Biogéochimiques, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
*now at: Botany Department, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA

Abstract. Many sensitivity studies have been carried out, using simplified GCMs to test the climate response to Last Glacial Maximum boundary conditions. Here, instead of adding the forcings successively as in previous studies, we applied the separation method of Stein and Alpert (1993), in order to determine rigourously the different contributions of the boundary condition modifications, and isolate the pure contributions from the interactions among the forcings. We carried out a series of sensitivity experiments with the model of intermediate complexity Planet Simulator, investigating the contributions of the ice sheet expansion and elevation, the lowering of the atmospheric CO2 and of the vegetation cover change on the LGM climate. The results clearly identify the ice cover forcing as the main contributor to the cooling of the Northern Hemisphere, and also to the tropical precipitation disruption, leading to the shouthward shift of the ITCZ, while the orographic forcing mainly contributes to the disruption of the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere. The isolated vegetation contribution also induces strong cooling over the continents of the Northern Hemisphere, that is further sufficient to affect the tropical precipitation and reinforce the southwards shift of the ITCZ, when combined with the ice forcing. The combinations of the forcings generate many non linear interactions, that reinforce or weaken the pure contributions, depending on the climatic mechanism involved, but they are generally weaker than the pure contributions. Finally, the comparison between the LGM simulated climate and climatic reconstructions over Eurasia suggests that our results reproduce well the south-west to north-east temperature gradients over Eurasia.

Citation: Henrot, A.-J., François, L., Brewer, S., and Munhoven, G.: Impacts of land surface properties and atmospheric CO2 on the Last Glacial Maximum climate: a factor separation analysis, Clim. Past Discuss., 5, 29-71, doi:10.5194/cpd-5-29-2009, 2009.
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