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High-Resolution Climate Simulations of Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 in Europe1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Eric Barron*
EMS Environment Institute, Penn State University, 2217 Earth-Engineering Sciences Building, University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802
David Pollard
EMS Environment Institute, Penn State University, 2217 Earth-Engineering Sciences Building, University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802
1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Fax: 814-865-3191. E-mail:


Oxygen isotope stage 3 (OIS 3) climate and its variations are the focus of the Stage 3 Project. The objective of the OIS 3 modeling effort is twofold: (1) to explore the importance of different boundary conditions on the climate of Europe and (2) to develop climate simulations that best reproduce the wealth of OIS 3 observations. Given the complexity of the topography and coastlines, the modeling effort is based on a “nested” General Circulation Model (GCM) and mesoscale model (RegCM2) with climate simulations for Europe on a 60-km grid spacing. The key conclusions are as follows: (1) The mesoscale model, driven by GCM output, does a reasonable job of reproducing the modern European climate. (2) OIS 3 variations in orbit, CO2, and ice-sheet size are of little significance in explaining the observed climate variability. (3) The model results focus attention on North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures (SST) as a major factor in explaining OIS 3 climates. (4) Experiments for different SST values capture a number of systematic changes in sea-level pressure and precipitation. (5) Climate models simulate substantial European cooling and significant changes in precipitation, but they do not explain large differences between OIS 3 warm and cold episodes.

Research Article
University of Washington

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This article is part of a series of articles reporting the results of the Stage 3 project (van Andel, 2002). See the Stage 3 Web site for details and databases:


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