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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Nov 2018

Research article | 02 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Strength and limits of transient mid to late Holocene simulations with dynamical vegetation

Pascale Braconnot, Dan Zhu, Olivier Marti, and Jérôme Servonnat Pascale Braconnot et al.
  • IPSL/Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, unité mixte CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris Saclay, Bât. 714, Orme de Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex

Abstract. We discuss here the first 6000 years long Holocene simulations with fully interactive vegetation and carbon cycle with the IPSL Earth system model. It reproduces the long term trends in tree line in northern hemisphere and the southward shift of Afro-Asian monsoon precipitation in the tropics in response to orbital forcing. The simulation is discussed at the light of a set of mid Holocene and pre industrial simulations performed to set up the model version and to initialize the dynamical vegetation. These sensitivity experiments remind us that model quality or realism is not only a function of model parameterizations and tuning, but also of experimental set up. They also question the possibility for bi-stable vegetation states under modern conditions. Despite these limitations the results show different timing of vegetation changes through space and time, mainly due to the pace of the insolation forcing and to internal variability. Forest in Eurasia exhibits changes in forest composition with time as well as large centennial variability. The rapid increase of atmospheric CO2 in the last centuries of the simulation contributes to enhance tree growth and counteracts the long term trends induced by Holocene insolation in the northern hemisphere. A complete evaluation of the results would require being able to properly account for systematic model biases and, more important, a careful choice of the reference period depending on the scientific questions.

Pascale Braconnot et al.
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Pascale Braconnot et al.
Pascale Braconnot et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study discusses a simulation of the last 6000 years realized with a climate model in which vegetation and carbon cycle are fully interactive. The long term southward shift in northern hemisphere tree line and Afro-Asian monsoon rain are reproduced. The results show substantial change in tree composition with time over Eurasia and the role of traces gazes in the recent past. They highlight the limitations due to model set up and multiple pre-industrial vegetation states.
This study discusses a simulation of the last 6000 years realized with a climate model in which...