Article

Climate Dynamics

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 513-529

Past and future polar amplification of climate change: climate model intercomparisons and ice-core constraints

  • V. Masson-DelmotteAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers Email author 
  • , M. KageyamaAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
  • , P. BraconnotAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
  • , S. CharbitAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
  • , G. KrinnerAffiliated withLaboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement, (UMR 5183 CNRS-UJF)
  • , C. RitzAffiliated withLaboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement, (UMR 5183 CNRS-UJF)
  • , E. GuilyardiAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
  • , J. JouzelAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
  • , A. Abe-OuchiAffiliated withCenter for Climate System Research, The University of TokyoFrontier Research Center for Global Change (FRCGC), JAMSTEC
    • , M. CrucifixAffiliated withHadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office
    • , R. M. GladstoneAffiliated withSchool of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
    • , C. D. HewittAffiliated withHadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office
    • , A. KitohAffiliated withClimate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute
    • , A. N. LeGrandeAffiliated withNASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University
    • , O. MartiAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des Merisiers
    • , U. MerkelAffiliated withIFM-GEOMAR
    • , T. MotoiAffiliated withClimate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute
    • , R. OhgaitoAffiliated withFrontier Research Center for Global Change (FRCGC), JAMSTEC
    • , B. Otto-BliesnerAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersClimate Change Research, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    • , W. R. PeltierAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersDepartment of Physics, University of Toronto
    • , I. RossAffiliated withSchool of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
    • , P. J. ValdesAffiliated withSchool of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
    • , G. VettorettiAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersDepartment of Physics, University of Toronto
    • , S. L. WeberAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersClimate Variability Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
    • , F. WolkAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersInstitut d’Astronomie et de Géophysique G. Lemaître, Université catholique de Louvain
    • , Y. YUAffiliated withLaboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, (LSCE/IPSL, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572) L’Orme des MerisiersLASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Abstract

Climate model simulations available from the PMIP1, PMIP2 and CMIP (IPCC-AR4) intercomparison projects for past and future climate change simulations are examined in terms of polar temperature changes in comparison to global temperature changes and with respect to pre-industrial reference simulations. For the mid-Holocene (MH, 6,000 years ago), the models are forced by changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters. The MH PMIP1 atmosphere-only simulations conducted with sea surface temperatures fixed to modern conditions show no MH consistent response for the poles, whereas the new PMIP2 coupled atmosphere–ocean climate models systematically simulate a significant MH warming both for Greenland (but smaller than ice-core based estimates) and Antarctica (consistent with the range of ice-core based range). In both PMIP1 and PMIP2, the MH annual mean changes in global temperature are negligible, consistent with the MH orbital forcing. The simulated last glacial maximum (LGM, 21,000 years ago) to pre-industrial change in global mean temperature ranges between 3 and 7°C in PMIP1 and PMIP2 model runs, similar to the range of temperature change expected from a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the CMIP simulations. Both LGM and future climate simulations are associated with a polar amplification of climate change. The range of glacial polar amplification in Greenland is strongly dependent on the ice sheet elevation changes prescribed to the climate models. All PMIP2 simulations systematically underestimate the reconstructed glacial–interglacial Greenland temperature change, while some of the simulations do capture the reconstructed glacial–interglacial Antarctic temperature change. Uncertainties in the prescribed central ice cap elevation cannot account for the temperature change underestimation by climate models. The variety of climate model sensitivities enables the exploration of the relative changes in polar temperature with respect to changes in global temperatures. Simulated changes of polar temperatures are strongly related to changes in simulated global temperatures for both future and LGM climates, confirming that ice-core-based reconstructions provide quantitative insights on global climate changes.