Climate Dynamics

, Volume 46, Issue 5–6, pp 1921–1942 | Cite as

Model-dependent spatial skill in pseudoproxy experiments testing climate field reconstruction methods for the Common Era

  • Jason E. Smerdon
  • Sloan Coats
  • Toby R. Ault


The spatial skill of four climate field reconstruction (CFR) methods is investigated using pseudoproxy experiments (PPEs) based on five last millennium and historical simulations from the Coupled and Paleo Model Intercomparison Projects Phases 5 and 3 (CMIP5/PMIP3) data archives. These simulations are used for the first time in a PPE context, the frameworks of which are constructed to test a recently assembled multiproxy network and multiple CFR techniques. The experiments confirm earlier findings demonstrating consistent methodological performance across the employed methods and spatially dependent reconstruction errors in all of the derived CFRs. Spectral biases in the reconstructed fields demonstrate that CFR methods can alone alter the ratio of spectral power at all locations in the field, independent of whether there are any spectral biases inherent in the underlying pseudoproxy series. The patterns of spectral biases are model dependent and indicate the potential for regions in the derived CFRs to be biased by changes in either low or high-frequency spectral power. CFR methods are also shown to alter the pattern of mean differences in the tropical Pacific during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age, with some model experiments indicating that CFR methodologies enhance the statistical likelihood of achieving larger mean differences between independent 300-year periods in the region. All of the characteristics of CFR performance are model dependent, indicating that CFR methods must be evaluated across multiple models and that conclusions from PPEs should be carefully connected to the spatial statistics of real-world climatic fields.


Climate field reconstruction Pseudoproxy Last millennium Climate model PMIP3 CMIP5 



We are grateful for the helpful comments from the reviewer of our manuscript. Supported in part by NOAA grants NA10OAR4320137 and NA11OAR4310166. Supplementary data can be accessed at LDEO contribution #7903.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason E. Smerdon
    • 1
  • Sloan Coats
    • 1
    • 2
  • Toby R. Ault
    • 3
  1. 1.Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia UniversityPalisadesUSA
  2. 2.NASA Goddard Institute for Space StudiesNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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