Climate Dynamics

, Volume 23, Issue 7–8, pp 727–743 | Cite as

Acceleration technique for Milankovitch type forcing in a coupled atmosphere-ocean circulation model: method and application for the Holocene

  • Stephan J. LorenzEmail author
  • Gerrit Lohmann
Original Articles


A method is introduced which allows the calculation of long-term climate trends within the framework of a coupled atmosphere-ocean circulation model. The change in the seasonal cycle of incident solar radiation induced by varying orbital parameters has been accelerated by factors of 10 and 100 in order to allow transient simulations over the period from the mid-Holocene until today, covering the last 7,000 years. In contrast to conventional time-slice experiments, this approach is not restricted to equilibrium simulations and is capable to utilise all available data for validation. We find that opposing Holocene climate trends in tropics and extra-tropics are a robust feature in our experiments. Results from the transient simulations of the mid-Holocene climate at 6,000 years before present show considerable differences to atmosphere-alone model simulations, in particular at high latitudes, attributed to atmosphere-ocean-sea ice effects. The simulations were extended for the time period 1800–2000 AD, where, in contrast to the Holocene climate, increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere provide for the strongest driving mechanism. The experiments reveal that a Northern Hemisphere cooling trend over the Holocene is completely cancelled by the warming trend during the last century, which brings the recent global warming into a long-term context.


Holocene Time Slice Orbital Parameter Holocene Climate Thermohaline Circulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We like to thank C. Heinze and J. Jungclaus and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments which improved the manuscript considerably. M. Claussen is acknowledged for providing us with part of the ECHAM3 data and S. Schubert for help with preparing Fig. 13. The model simulations have been done at the Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany. We thank S. Legutke for her support concerning the ECHO-G model experiments as well as the staff of the Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie and the DKRZ for technical support. This study was funded by grants from the German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) through the program DEKLIM.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für MeteorologieModelle und DatenHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Fachbereich Geowissenschaften und DFG Forschungszentrum OzeanränderUniversität BremenBremenGermany

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