High-resolution climate simulations of oxygen isotope stage 3 in Europe

Eric Barron, David Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-309
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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