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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-11
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-11
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 18 Feb 2019

Submitted as: research article | 18 Feb 2019

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

A systematic comparison of bias correction methods for paleoclimate simulations

Robert Beyer, Mario Krapp, and Andrea Manica Robert Beyer et al.
  • Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK

Abstract. Even the most sophisticated global climate models are known to have significant biases in the way they reconstruct the climate system. Correcting model biases is therefore an essential step toward realistic paleoclimatologies, which are crucial for modelling long-term and large-scale ecological dynamics. Here, we evaluate three widely-used bias correction methods – the delta method, generalised additive models and quantile mapping – against a global dataset of empirical temperature and precipitation records from the present, the mid-holocene (∼6,000 years BP), the last glacial maximum (∼21,000 years BP) and the last interglacial period (∼125,000 years BP). Overall, the delta method performs best at minimising the median absolute error between empirical data and debiased simulations for both temperature and precipitation, although there is considerable spatial and temporal variation in the performance of each of the three methods. We indicate that additional empirical reconstructions of past climatic conditions might make it possible to soon use past data not only for the validation but for the active calibration of bias correction functions.

Robert Beyer et al.

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Robert Beyer et al.

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Data and Matlab code R. Beyer, M. Krapp, and A. Manica https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/8AXW9

Robert Beyer et al.

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Latest update: 26 Feb 2020
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Short summary
Even the most sophisticated global climate models are known known to have significant biases in the way they reconstruct the climate system. Correcting model biases is therefore essential for creating realistic reconstructions of past climate that can be used, for example, to study long-term and large-scale ecological dynamics. Here, we evaluated three widely-used bias correction methods by means of a global dataset of empirical temperature and precipitation records from the last 125,000 years.
Even the most sophisticated global climate models are known known to have significant biases in...
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