Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Agreement between reconstructed and modeled boreal precipitation of the Last Interglacial

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Science Advances  20 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaax7047
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax7047

Abstract

The last extended time period when climate may have been warmer than today was during the Last Interglacial (LIG; ca. 129 to 120 thousand years ago). However, a global view of LIG precipitation is lacking. Here, seven new LIG climate models are compared to the first global database of proxies for LIG precipitation. In this way, models are assessed in their ability to capture important hydroclimatic processes during a different climate. The models can reproduce the proxy-based positive precipitation anomalies from the preindustrial period over much of the boreal continents. Over the Southern Hemisphere, proxy-model agreement is partial. In models, LIG boreal monsoons have 42% wider area than in the preindustrial and produce 55% more precipitation and 50% more extreme precipitation. Austral monsoons are weaker. The mechanisms behind these changes are consistent with stronger summer radiative forcing over boreal high latitudes and with the associated higher temperatures during the LIG.

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