Dynamical and hydrological changes in climate simulations of the last millennium

Roldán-Gómez, Pedro José; González-Rouco, Jesús Fidel; Melo-Aguilar, Camilo; Smerdon, Jason E.

Simulations of climate of the last millennium (LM) show that external forcing had a major contribution to the evolution of temperatures; warmer and colder periods like the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA; ca. 950–1250 CE) and the Little Ice Age (LIA; ca. 1450–1850 CE) were critically influenced by changes in solar and volcanic activity. Even if this influence is mainly observed in terms of temperatures, evidence from simulations and reconstructions shows that other variables related to atmospheric dynamics and hydroclimate were also influenced by external forcing over some regions. In this work, simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP5/PMIP3) are analyzed to explore the influence of external forcings on the dynamical and hydrological changes during the LM at different spatial and temporal scales. Principal component (PC) analysis is used to obtain the modes of variability governing the global evolution of climate and to assess their correlation with the total external forcing at multidecadal to multicentennial timescales. For shorter timescales, a composite analysis is used to address the response to specific events of external forcing like volcanic eruptions. The results show coordinated long-term changes in global circulation patterns, which suggest expansions and contractions of the Hadley cells and latitudinal displacements of westerlies in response to external forcing. For hydroclimate, spatial patterns of drier and wetter conditions in areas influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Northern Annular Mode (NAM), and Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and alterations in the intensity and distribution of monsoons and convergence zones are consistently found. Similarly, a clear short-term response is found in the years following volcanic eruptions. Although external forcing has a greater influence on temperatures, the results suggest that dynamical and hydrological variations over the LM exhibit a direct response to external forcing at both long and short timescales that is highly dependent on the particular simulation and model.


Also Published In

Climate of the Past

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
May 9, 2022