Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-55
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
19 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Simulation of climate, ice sheets and CO2 evolution during the last four glacial cycles with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity
Andrei Ganopolski1 and Victor Brovkin2 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam, Germany
2Max Plank Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
Abstract. In spite of significant progress in paleoclimate reconstructions and modeling of different aspects of the past glacial cycles, the mechanisms which transform regional and seasonal variations in solar insolation into long-term and global-scale glacial-interglacial cycles are still not fully understood, in particular, for CO2 variability. Here using the Earth system model of intermediate complexity CLIMBER-2 we performed simulations of co-evolution of climate, ice sheets and carbon cycle over the last 400,000 years using the orbital forcing as the only external forcing. The model simulates temporal dynamics of CO2, global ice volume and other climate system characteristics in good agreement with paleoclimate reconstructions. Using simulations performed with the model in different configurations, we also analyze the role of individual processes and sensitivity to the choice of model parameters. While many features of simulated glacial cycles are rather robust, some details of CO2 evolution, especially during glacial terminations, are rather sensitive to the choice of model parameters. Specifically, we found two major regimes of CO2 changes during terminations: in the first one, when the recovery of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) occurs only at the end of the termination, a pronounced overshoot in CO2 concentration occurs at the beginning of the interglacial and CO2 remains almost constant during interglacial or even decline towards the end, resembling Eemian CO2 dynamics. However, if the recovery of the AMOC occurs in the middle of the glacial termination, CO2 concentration continues to rise during interglacial, similar to Holocene. We also discuss potential contribution of the brine rejection mechanism for the CO2 and carbon isotopes in the atmosphere and the ocean during the past glacial termination.

Citation: Ganopolski, A. and Brovkin, V.: Simulation of climate, ice sheets and CO2 evolution during the last four glacial cycles with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity, Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-55, in review, 2017.
Andrei Ganopolski and Victor Brovkin
Andrei Ganopolski and Victor Brovkin
Andrei Ganopolski and Victor Brovkin

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Short summary
Ice cores reveal that atmospheric CO2 concentration varied synchronously with the global ice volume. Explanation the mechanism of glacial-interglacial variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the link between CO2 and ice sheets evolution still remains a challenge. Here using the Earth system model of intermediate complexity we performed for the first time simulations of co-evolution of climate, ice sheets and carbon cycle using the astronomical forcing as the only external forcing.
Ice cores reveal that atmospheric CO2 concentration varied synchronously with the global ice...
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