The LGM – not finished yet!

Well, of course it’s finished in the temporal sense. But not in terms of scientific interest. This is perhaps the main conclusion of our latest review paper, which was published in QSR a few days ago. All followers of @geschictenpost on twitter (never miss an interesting paper!) will already be aware of this, but they might not realise that the full paper is freely available via this link until midnight on the 23rd Dec at which point it will turn into a pumpkin (ok, hide behind a paywall).

The review was invited back at the end of 2012, but at the time we were in the process of publishing some relevant work so we didn’t actually get round to writing anything until half way through 2013. We had fun over the summer chasing up some old papers that we had not previously seen, and even got a paper print of a CLIMAP reconstruction – which we were not allowed to remove from the library, or even copy! Conversations with several more senior scientists were helpful, including a few emails exchanged with Tom Crowley. And a reviewer added another perspective which was very helpful.

In the paper, we trace the evolution of model-data comparison for the Last Glacial Maximum, at least for surface temperature, talking about what has been achieved (the models and data agree to some extent on the broadest scales) and what issues remain (regional differences are large, not only between models and data, but also amongst different models and different interpretations of data). The LGM remains the gold standard for testing the ability of models to reproduce a climate state very different to the present day, thanks to the relatively abundant data and large, well-understood forcing. But as well as suggesting that models are basically on the right lines, the results of the simulations also suggest there is plenty of room for improvement.


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