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Journal Article

Climate of the last millenium : Ensemble consistency of simulations and reconstructions

MPS-Authors

Bothe,  O.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
University of Hamburg, KlimaCampus;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons37193

Jungclaus,  J. H.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons37386

Zanchettin,  D.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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cp-9-1089-2013.pdf
(Publisher version), 3MB

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Citation

Bothe, O., Jungclaus, J. H., Zanchettin, D., & Zorita, E. (2013). Climate of the last millenium: Ensemble consistency of simulations and reconstructions. Climate of the Past, 9, 1089-1110. doi:10.5194/cp-9-1089-2013.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-79BD-D
Abstract
Are simulations and reconstructions of past climate and its variability consistent with each other?We assess the consistency of simulations and reconstructions for the climate of the last millennium under the paradigm of a statistically indistinguishable ensemble. In this type of analysis, the null hypothesis is that reconstructions and simulations are statistically indistinguishable and, therefore, are exchangeable with each other. Ensemble consistency is assessed for Northern Hemisphere mean temperature, Central European mean temperature and for global temperature fields. Reconstructions available for these regions serve as verification data for a set of simulations of the climate of the last millennium performed at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Consistency is generally limited to some sub-domains and some sub-periods. Only the ensemble simulated and reconstructed annual Central European mean temperatures for the second half of the last millennium demonstrates unambiguous consistency. Furthermore, we cannot exclude consistency of an ensemble of reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature with the simulation ensemble mean. If we treat simulations and reconstructions as equitable hypotheses about past climate variability, the found general lack of their consistency weakens our confidence in inferences about past climate evolutions on the considered spatial and temporal scales. That is, our available estimates of past climate evolutions are on an equal footing but, as shown here, inconsistent with each other.