Chinese Science Bulletin

, 56:3028

A comparison of the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and 20th century warming simulated by the FGOALS climate system model

  • TianJun Zhou
  • Bo Li
  • WenMin Man
  • LiXia Zhang
  • Jie Zhang
Open Access
Article Special Topic: Climate Change over the Past Millennium in China


To compare differences among the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), Little Ice Age (LIA), and 20th century global warming (20CW), six sets of transient and equilibrium simulations were generated using the climate system model FGOALS_gl. This model was developed by the State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The results indicate that MWP warming is evident on a global scale, except for at mid-latitudes of the North Pacific. However, the magnitude of the warming is weaker than that in the 20th century. The warming in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is stronger than that in the Southern Hemisphere. The LIA cooling is also evident on a global scale, with a strong cooling over the high Eurasian continent, while the cooling center is over the Arctic domain. Both the MWP and the 20CW experiments exhibit the strongest warming anomalies in the middle troposphere around 200–300 hPa, but the cooling center of the LIA experiment is seen in the polar surface of the Northern Hemisphere. A comparison of model simulation against the reconstruction indicates that model’s performance in simulating the surface air temperature changes during the warm periods is better than that during the cold periods. The consistencies between model and reconstruction in lower latitudes are better than those in high latitudes. Comparison of the inter-annual variability mode of East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) rainfall during the MWP, LIA and 20CW reveals a similar rainfall anomalies pattern. However, the time spectra of the principal component during the three typical periods of the last millennium are different, and the quasi-biannual oscillation is more evident during the two warm periods. At a centennial time scale, the external mode of the EASM variability driven by the changes of effective solar radiation is determined by the changes of large scale land-sea thermal contrast. The rainfall anomalies over the east of 110°E exhibit a meridional homogeneous change pattern, which is different from the meridional out-of-phase change of rainfall anomalies associated with the internal mode.


Medieval Warm Period Little Ice Age 20th century warming coupled climate system model temperature changes East Asian summer monsoon 


  1. 1.
    Wang S W, Xie Z H, Cai J N, et al. Study on the global mean temperature changes during the last millennium (in Chinese). Prog Nat Sci, 2002, 12: 1145–1149Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Solomon S D, Qin M, Manning Z, et al. IPCC, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, ed. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ge Q S, Zheng J Y, Man Z M, et al. Reconstruction and analysis on the series of winter-half-year temperature changes over the past 2000 years in Eastern China (in Chinese). Earth Sci Front, 2002, 9: 169–181Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wang S W, Gong D Y. Temperature change in several typical periods of Holocene in China (in Chinese). Nat Sci Prog, 2000, 10: 325–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zhou T J, Man W M, Zhang J. Progress in numerical simulations of the climate over the last millennium (in Chinese). Adv Earth Sci, 2009, 24: 469–476Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Liu J, Chen X, Wang S M, et al. Palaeoclimate simulation of the Little Ice Age (in Chinese). Prog Nat Sci, 2004, 14: 462–468Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chen X, Liu J, Wang S M. Climate simulation of Little Ice Age over Eastern Asia (in Chinese). Sci Meteorol Sin, 2005, 25: 1–8Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhou J S, Yu Y Q, Liu H L, et al. Progress in the development and application of climate ocean models and ocean-atmosphere coupled models in China. Adv Atmos Sci, 2007, 24: 1109–1120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zhou T J, Yu R C. Twentieth century surface air temperature over China and the globe simulated by coupled climate models. J Clim, 2006, 19: 5843–5858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Man W M, Zhou T J, Zhang J, et al. The 20th century climate simulated by LASG/IAP climate system model FGOALS_gl (in Chinese). Acta Meteorol Sin, 2011, 69: 644–654Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liu J, von Storch H, Chen X, et al. Comparison of simulated and reconstructed temperature in Eastern China during the last millennium (in Chinese). Chinese Sci Bull, 2005, 50: 2251–2255Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Liu J, von Storch H, Chen X, et al. Long-time modeling experiment on global climate change for the last millennium (in Chinese). Adv Earth Sci, 2005, 20: 561–567Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kuang X Y, Liu J, Wang H L, et al. Comparison of simulated and reconstructed precipitation in China during the last millennium (in Chinese). Adv Earth Sci, 2009, 24: 159–171Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang J, Zhou T J, Man W M, et al. The transient simulation of Little Ice Age by LASG/IAP climate system model (in Chinese). Quat Sci, 2009, 29: 1125–1134Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Man W M, Zhou T J, Zhang J, et al. The equilibrium response of LASG/IAP climate system model to prescribed external forcing of Little Ice Age (in Chinese). Chin J Atmos Sci, 2010, 34: 914–924Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zhou T J, Wang Z Z, Yu R C, et al. The climate system model FGOALS_s using LASG/IAP spectral AGCM SAMIL as its atmospheric component (in Chinese). Acta Metrorol Sin, 2005, 63: 702–715Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zhou T J, Yu R C, Wang Z Z, et al. The Atmospheric General Circulation Model SAMIL and the Corresponding Coupled Climate System Model FGOALS_s (in Chinese). Beijing: Meteorological Press, 2005. 288Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yu Y Q, Zhi H, Wang B, et al. Coupled model simulations of climate changes in the 20th century and beyond. Adv Atmos Sci, 2008, 25: 641–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Zhou T J, Wu B, Wen X Y, et al. A fast version of LASG/IAP climate system model and its 1000-year control integration. Adv Atmos Sci, 2008, 25: 655–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wen X Y, Zhou T J, Wang S W, et al. Performance of a reconfigured atmospheric general circulation model at low resolution. Adv Atmos Sci, 2007, 24: 712–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Crowley T J. Causes of climate changes over the past 1000 years. Science, 2000, 289: 270–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Xie P P, Arkin P A. Global precipitation: A 17-year monthly analysis based on gauge observations, satellite estimates, and numerical model outputs. Bull Amer Meteorol Soc, 1997, 78: 2539–2558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dai A G, Wigley T M L, Boville B A, et al. Climates of the 20th and 21st centuries simulated by the NCAR Climate System Model. J Clim, 2001, 14: 485–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Manabe S, Wetherald R T. Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity. J Atmos Sci, 1967, 24: 241–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Man W M, Zhou T J, Zhang L X. The tropical Pacific interannual variability simulated by LASG/IAP climate system model FGOALS_gl (in Chinese). Chin J Atmos Sci, 2010, 34: 1141–1154Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Qian Y F, Zhou T J. Modelling tests of the error subtraction scheme for the pressure gradient force in models with topography (in Chinese). Plateau Meteorol, 1995, 14: 1–9Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Qian Y F, Zhou T J. Error subtraction method in computing pressure gradient force for high and steep topographic areas (in Chinese). J Tropical Meteorol, 1994, 10: 358–368Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Yu R C, Li W, Zhang X H, et al. Climatic features related to eastern China summer rainfalls in the NCAR CCM3. Adv Atmos Sci, 2000, 17: 503–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chen H M, Zhou T J, Neale R B, et al. Performance of the New NCAR CAM3.5 in East Asian Summer Monsoon simulations: Sensitivity to modifications of the convection scheme. J Clim, 2010, 23: 3657–3675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhou T J, Li Z X. Simulation of the east Asian summer monsoon by using a variable resolution atmospheric GCM. Clim Dyn, 2002, 19: 167–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Zou L W, Zhou T J, Li Z X, et al. East China summer rainfall variability of 1958–2000: Dynamical downscaling with a variable-resolution AGCM. J Clim, 2010, 23: 6394–6408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Li L J, Wang Y Q, Wang B, et al. Sensitivity of the grid-point atmospheric model of IAP LASG (GAMIL1.1.0) climate simulations to cloud droplet effective radius and liquid water path. Adv Atmos Sci, 2008, 25: 529–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Zhou T J, Yu R C. Atmospheric water vapor transport associated with typical anomalous summer rainfall patterns in China. J Geophys Res, 2005, 110: D08104, doi:10.1029/2004JD005413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Liu J, Wang B, Wang H L, et al. Forced response of the East Asian summer rainfall over the past millennium: Results from a coupled model simulation. Clim Dyn, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s00382-009-0693-6Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shen S, Lau K M. Biennial oscillation associated with the East Asian summer monsoon and tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies. J Meteorol Soc Jpn, 1995, 73: 105–124Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Chang C P, Zhang Y S, Li T. Interannual and interdecadal variation of the East Asian summer monsoon and tropical Pacific SSTs. J Clim, 2000, 13: 4310–4340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Huang R H, Chen J L, Huang G, et al. The quasi-biennial oscillation of summer monsoon rainfall in China and its cause (in Chinese). Chin J Atmos Sci, 2006, 30: 545–560Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Wang B, Wu R G, Fu X H. Pacific-East Asian teleconnection: How does ENSO affect East Asian climate? J Clim, 2000, 13: 1517–1536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wang B, Zhang Q. Pacific-East Asian teleconnection. Part II: How the Philippine Sea anomalous anticyclone is established during El Niño development. J Clim, 2002, 15: 3252–3265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wu B, Zhou T J, Li T. Seasonally evolving dominant interannual variability modes of East Asian Climate. J Clim, 2009, 22: 2992–3005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Man W M, Zhou T J. Forced response of atmospheric oscillations during the last millennium simulated by a climate system model. Chinese Sci Bull, 2011, 56: 3042–3052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Widmann M, Tett S F B. Simulating the climate of the last millennium. IGBP Newslett, 2004, 56: 10–13Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Shindell D T, Schmidt G A, Mann M E, et al. Solar forcing of regional climate change during the Maunder Minimum. Science, 2001, 294: 2149–2152CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • TianJun Zhou
    • 1
  • Bo Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • WenMin Man
    • 1
    • 2
  • LiXia Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jie Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.The Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations