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Climate of the last millennium: a sensitivity study
Bertrand, C.; Loutre, M.F.; Crucifix, M.; Berger, A. (2002). Climate of the last millennium: a sensitivity study. Tellus, Ser. A, Dyn. meteorol. oceanogr. 54(3): 221-244.
In: Tellus. Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography. Blackwell: Copenhagen. ISSN 0280-6495; e-ISSN 1600-0870, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Bertrand, C.
  • Loutre, M.F.
  • Crucifix, M., more
  • Berger, A., more

    Seventy-one sensitivity experiments have been performed using a two-dimensional sector-averaged global climate model to assess the potential impact of six different factors on the last millennium climate and in particular on the surface air temperature evolution. Both natural (i.e, solar and volcanism) and anthropogenically-induced (i.e. deforestation, additional greenhouse gases, and tropospheric aerosol burden) climate forcings have been considered.Comparisons of climate reconstructions with model results indicate that all the investigated forcings are needed to simulate the surface air temperature evolution. Due to uncertainties in historical climate forcings and temperature reconstructions, the relative importance of a particular forcing in the explanation of the recorded temperature variance is largely function of the forcing time series used. Nevertheless, our results indicate that whatever the historical solar and volcanic reconstructions may be, these externally driven natural climate forcings are unable to dive climate responses comparable in magnitude and time to the late-20th-century temperature warming while for earlier periods combination of solar and volcanic forcings can explain the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period. Only the greenhouse gas forcing allows the model to simulate an accelerated warming rate during the last three decades. The best guess simulation (largest similarity with the reconstruction) for the period starting 1850 AD requires however to include anthropogenic sulphate forcing as well as the impact of deforestation to constrain the magnitude of the greenhouse gas twentieth century warming to better fit the observation. On the contrary, prior to 1850 AD mid-latitude land clearance tends to reinforce the Little Ice age in our simulations.

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