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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-2019-25
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-25
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Mar 2019

Research article | 04 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Climate of the Past (CP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Evaluating model outputs using integrated global speleothem records of climate change since the last glacial

Laia Comas-Bru1,2, Sandy P. Harrison1, Martin Werner3, Kira Rehfeld4, Nick Scroxton5, Cristina Veiga-Pires6, and SISAL working group members* Laia Comas-Bru et al.
  • 1School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Reading University, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AH, UK
  • 2UCD School of Earth Sciences.University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Division Climate Science - Paleoclimate Dynamics, Bussestr. 24, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4Institute of Environmental Physics, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 611 North Pleasant Street, 01003-9297 Amherst, MA, USA
  • 6Universidade do Algarve Faculdade de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente - FCMA Centro de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental - CIMA Campus de Gambelas 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
  • *A full list of authors and their affiliations appears at the end of the paper.

Abstract. Although quantitative isotopic data from speleothems has been used to evaluate isotope-enabled model simulations, currently no consensus exists regarding the most appropriate methodology through which achieve this. A number of modelling groups will be running isotope-enabled palaeoclimate simulations in the framework of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6, so it is timely to evaluate different approaches to use the speleothem data for data-model comparisons. Here, we accomplish this using 456 globally-distributed speleothem δ18O records from an updated version of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL) database and palaeoclimate simulations generated using the ECHAM5-wiso isotope-enabled atmospheric circulation model. We show that the SISAL records reproduce the first-order spatial patterns of isotopic variability in the modern day, strongly supporting the application of this dataset for evaluating model-derived isotope variability into the past. However, the discontinuous nature of many speleothem records complicates procuring large numbers of records if data-model comparisons are made using the traditional approach of comparing anomalies between a control period and a given palaeoclimate experiment. To circumvent this issue, we illustrate techniques through which the absolute isotopic values during any time period could be used for model evaluation. Specifically, we show that speleothem isotope records allow an assessment of a model’s ability to simulate spatial isotopic trends and the degree to which the model reproduces the observed environmental controls of isotopic spatial variability. Our analyses provide a protocol for using speleothem isotopic data for model evaluation, including screening the observations, the optimum period for the modern observational baseline, and the selection of an appropriate time-window for creating means of the isotope data for palaeo time slices.

Laia Comas-Bru et al.
Interactive discussion
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Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Laia Comas-Bru et al.
Data sets

SISAL (Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis Working Group) database version 1b. K. Atsawawaranunt, S. Harrison, and L. Comas-Bru https://doi.org/10.17864/1947.189

Laia Comas-Bru et al.
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Short summary
We use an updated version of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL) database and palaeoclimate simulations generated using the ECHAM5-wiso isotope-enabled atmospheric circulation model to provide a protocol for using speleothem isotopic data for model evaluation, including screening the observations, the optimum period for the modern observational baseline, and the selection of an appropriate time-window for creating means of the isotope data for palaeo time slices.
We use an updated version of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL) database and...
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