Mid-Pliocene Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation simulated in PlioMIP2

Christian.Stepanek [ at ] awi.de


In the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2 (PlioMIP2), coupled climate models have been used to simulate an interglacial climate during the mid-Piacenzian warm period (mPWP; 3.264 to 3.025 Ma). Here, we compare the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), poleward ocean heat transport and sea surface warming in the Atlantic simulated with these models. In PlioMIP2, all models simulate an intensified mid-Pliocene AMOC. However, there is no consistent response in the simulated Atlantic ocean heat transport nor in the depth of the Atlantic overturning cell. The models show a large spread in the simulated AMOC maximum, the Atlantic ocean heat transport and the surface warming in the North Atlantic. Although a few models simulate a surface warming of ∼ 8–12 ∘C in the North Atlantic, similar to the reconstruction from Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping (PRISM) version 4, most models appear to underestimate this warming. The large model spread and model–data discrepancies in the PlioMIP2 ensemble do not support the hypothesis that an intensification of the AMOC, together with an increase in northward ocean heat transport, is the dominant mechanism for the mid-Pliocene warm climate over the North Atlantic.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Program: Cooperations Across Research Fields (2021-2027): CARF
Research Networks
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/cp-17-529-2021

Cite as
Zhang, Z. , Li, X. , Guo, C. , Otterå, O. H. , Nisancioglu, K. H. , Tan, N. , Contoux, C. , Ramstein, G. , Feng, R. , Otto-Bliesner, B. L. , Brady, E. , Chandan, D. , Peltier, W. R. , Baatsen, M. L. J. , von der Heydt, A. S. , Weiffenbach, J. E. , Stepanek, C. , Lohmann, G. , Zhang, Q. , Li, Q. , Chandler, M. A. , Sohl, L. E. , Haywood, A. M. , Hunter, S. J. , Tindall, J. C. , Williams, C. , Lunt, D. J. , Chan, W. L. and Abe-Ouchi, A. (2021): Mid-Pliocene Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation simulated in PlioMIP2 , Climate of the Past, 17 (1), pp. 529-543 . doi: 10.5194/cp-17-529-2021



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