Joint Seminar: The Holocene temperature conundrum, real or imagined?

Liu et al. (2014) have recently identified an apparant data-model disagreement over the evolution of global mean temperature during the Holocene, which they have called ‘the Holocene temperature conundrum’. They base their analysis on a temperature reconstruction by Marcott et al. (2013) which uses just 74 sites to reconstruct the Holocene climate of the entire world. Here I will show that this highly cited reconstruction is almost certainly wrong and at best unreliable. Marcott et al (2013) illustrates many common conceptual misunderstandings about past climate change, but particularly the over-interpretation of local site records as regionally representative. In fact Harrison et al (2013) have already shown that both models and data broadly agree at least for global mean temperature during the mid-Holocene, based on a much larger suite of models than used by Liu et al (2014), and a much larger globally distributed dataset than used by Marcott et al (2013). Instead I outline a different Holocene temperature conundrum based on data-model discrepencies in the evolution of Holocene seasonal temperatures. These differences may point to a more fundamental problem in the representation of atmospheric dynamics in models, and consequently our understanding of the drivers of Interglacial warming.




13:30 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Basil Davis, Université de Lausanne


Victor Brovkin

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