Early-Holocene simulations using different forcings and resolutions in AWI-ESM

xshi [ at ] awi.de


The earliest part of the Holocene, from 11.5k to 7k (k = 1000 years before present), is a critical transition period between the relatively cold last deglaciation and the warm middle Holocene. It is marked by more pronounced seasonality and reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the present state, as well as by the presence of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) and glacial meltwater perturbation. This paper performs experiments under pre-industrial and different early-Holocene regimes with AWI-ESM (Alfred Wegener Institute–Earth System Model), a state-of-the-art climate model with unstructured mesh and varying resolutions, to examine the sensitivity of the simulated Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to early-Holocene insolation, GHGs, topography (including properties of the ice sheet), and glacial meltwater perturbation. In the experiments with early-Holocene Earth orbital parameters and GHGs applied, the AWI-ESM simulation shows a JJA (June–July–August) warming and DJF (December–January–February) cooling over the mid and high latitudes compared with pre-industrial conditions, with amplification over the continents. The presence of the LIS leads to an additional regional cooling over the North America. We also simulate the meltwater event around 8.2k. Big discrepancies are found in the oceanic responses to different locations and magnitudes of freshwater discharge. Our experiments, which compare the effects of freshwater release evenly across the Labrador Sea to a more precise injection along the western boundary of the North Atlantic (the coastal region of LIS), show significant differences in the ocean circulation response, as the former produces a major decline of the AMOC and the latter yields no obvious effect on the strength of the thermohaline circulation. Furthermore, proglacial drainage of Lakes Agassiz and Ojibway leads to a fast spin-down of the AMOC, followed, however, by a gradual recovery. Most hosing experiments lead to a warming over the Nordic Sea and Barents Sea of varying magnitudes, because of an enhanced inflow from lower latitudes and a northward displacement of the North Atlantic deep convection. These processes exist in both of our high- and low-resolution experiments, but with some local discrepancies such as (1) the hosing-induced subpolar warming is much less pronounced in the high-resolution simulations; (2) LIS coastal melting in the high-resolution model leads to a slight decrease in the AMOC; and (3) the convection formation site in the low- and high-resolution experiments differs, in the former mainly over northeastern North Atlantic Ocean, but in the latter over a very shallow subpolar region along the northern edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. In conclusion, we find that our simulations capture spatially heterogeneous responses of the early-Holocene climate.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Research Networks
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1177/0959683620908634

Cite as
Shi, X. , Lohmann, G. , Sidorenko, D. and Yang, H. , Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bussestr. 24, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany (2020): Early-Holocene simulations using different forcings and resolutions in AWI-ESM , The Holocene, 30 (7), pp. 996-1015 . doi: 10.1177/0959683620908634

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