PALEOLINK: The missing link in the Past – Downscaling paleoclimatic Earth System Models


PALEOLINK timeline

 2018  2019  2020  2021



paleolink 2k fig
Fig. 1: Typical scale gap between a coarse ESM and the actual topography that induces regional climates leaving a footprint in the proxy record. The RCM is able to explicitly resolve such processes, therefore bridging the scale gap.

*Access a pdf presentation about PALEOLINK, from the January 2018 2k Teleconference, here*

*Read the kickoff meeting (Vienna, Austria, April 2018) report here.*

The comparison of climate model simulations of past climates with proxy-based climate reconstructions allows assessing the validity of climate models under the impact of different boundary conditions (particularly when considering glacial climates).

However, this comparison is burdened by the fact that most climate reconstructions are based on local or regional data, whereas the Earth System Models’ paleoclimate simulations have a rather coarse spatial resolution that leads to large biases over extensive regions and inhibits a realistic representation of the small scale features that affect proxy records.

To overcome this scale gap, different techniques are applied, ranging from a ‘naive’ approach based on selecting the closest grid point of the climate model to complex approaches that refine the simulated large-scale fields with the help of statistical or dynamical methods, i.e. Regional Climate Models.

Although the latter has proven to be a valuable tool, the computational resources involved in long climate simulations normally addressed by climate reconstructions are large. The associated cost has limited the number of studies based on this approach. Currently, few regions have been subject to dynamical downscaling efforts, with a negligible number of high-resolution simulations compared to the number of coarse, global-scale simulations.

This project aims to evaluate and develop new downscaling strategies that allow the linking of coarse Earth System Model simulations with climate reconstructions.

Timeline and expected output

The project will operate mostly during the two-year period from early 2018 until the end of 2019, with the aim of providing results for their inclusion in the next IPCC report. Final works will be conducted in 2020 and 2021.

It is not in principle planned to produce new datasets during the lifetime of the working group, but exploiting the few high-resolution simulations currently available, and re-analyzing them under the light of selected key scientific questions.

Still, the group is open to anyone interested in the design of new simulations that help to clarify specific questions that might arise during the lifetime of the project.

> PALEOLINK scientific goals

> PALEOLINK people

Learn more and participate

This group is open to anyone who is interested. To participate, subscribe to the mailing list or contact the project coordinators.

Subscribe to the PALEOLINK mailing list here.

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