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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Mar 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Comparison of observed borehole temperatures in Antarctica with simulations using a forward model driven by climate model outputs covering the past millennium

Zhiqiang Lyu1, Anais J. Orsi2, and Hugues Goosse1 Zhiqiang Lyu et al.
  • 1Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), Place Louis Pasteur, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (IPSL/CEA-CNRS-UVSQ UMR 8212), CEA Saclay, 7 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette CEDEX, France

Abstract. The reconstructed surface temperature series from boreholes in Antarctica have significantly contributed to our understanding of centennial and multi-decadal temperature changes and thus provides us a good way to evaluate the climate model ability to reproduce low-frequency climate variability. However, up to now, there were no systematic model-data comparisons based on temperature from boreholes at regional or local scale in Antarctica. Here, we discuss two different ways to perform such a comparison using boreholes measurements and the corresponding reconstructions of surface temperature at West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), Larissa, Mill Island and Styx in Antarctica. The standard approach is to compare climate model outputs at the grid point closest to each site with the reconstructions in the time domain derived from the direct borehole temperature observations. Although some characteristics of the reconstructions, for instance the non-uniform smoothing, limit to some extent the model-data comparison, several robust features can be evaluated. In addition, a more direct model-data comparison based on the temperature measured in the boreholes is conducted using a forward model that simulates explicitly the subsurface temperature profiles when driven with climate model outputs. This comparison in the depth domain provides many consistent signals with those in the time domain, but also suggest some information that we cannot extract from the comparison in the time domain. The major results from these comparisons are used to define some metrics derived from the borehole temperature data for future model-data comparison, and demonstrate the spatial representativity of the sites chosen for the metrics. The long term cooling trend in West Antarctica from 1000 to 1600 CE (−1.0 °C) is generally reproduced by the models, but often with a weaker amplitude. The 19th century cooling in the Antarctic Peninsula (−0.94 °C) is not reproduced by any of the models, which tend to show warming instead. The trend over the last 50 years is generally well reproduced in West Antarctica and at Larissa (Antarctic Peninsula), but overestimated at other sites. The wide range of simulated trends indicates the importance of internal variability on the observed trends, and show the value of model-data comparison to investigate the response to forcings.

Zhiqiang Lyu et al.

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Zhiqiang Lyu et al.

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Latest update: 29 Mar 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper uses two different ways to perform model-data comparisons for the borehole temperature in Antarctica. The results show some model-data bias, and particularly suggest most models are able to capture the long-terming cooling in West Antarctica between 1000 C.E. and 1600 C.E., and the recent 50 years warming in West Antarctica, and Antarctic Peninsula.
This paper uses two different ways to perform model-data comparisons for the borehole...