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Comparison of proxy climate reconstructions and climate models for the purpose of inter-validation and calibration

PI: Shaopeng Huang
Institution: University of Michigan
A focus of my recent research activities is to integrate complementary information preserved in different data sources for a more complete picture of climate change over the past five centuries. The role I would like to play in the collaboration with climate modelers is to compare proxy climate reconstructions and climate models for the purpose of inter-validation and calibration. On one hand climate modeling can be used to evaluate a climate reconstruction. On the other hand, a reconstructed temperature history and the empirical estimates of the climate response to external forcing terms can be used to tune climate models. In my most recent paper (Huang, 2004, GRL, 31, doi:10.1029/2004GL019781) I merge the long-term information preserved in the global database of borehole temperatures (Huang et al., 2000, Nature, 403, 756-758), the 20th century meteorological record (Jones et al., 1999, Rev. Geophys. 37, 173-199), and an annually resolved multi proxy model (Mann et al., 1999, GRL, 26, 759-62) for an integrated reconstruction of the Northern Hemisphere temperature change over the past five centuries. The integrated reconstruction suggests that the 20th century warming is a continuation of a long-term warming started before industrialization. However, the warming has been substantially accelerated since the onset of industrialization. The integration of the three bodies of information greatly improves the relationship between the reconstructed temperatures and the radiative forcing history. The good agreement between the integrated reconstruction and the forcing model confirms that there are both natural and anthropogenic factors in the recent warming. It also allows for an independent estimate of the rate of climate-forcing response. Analysis of the reconstructed temperature and radiative forcing series offers an estimate of the transient climate-forcing response rate of 0.4 - 0.7 K per Wm-2.

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