A comprehensive climate history of the last 800 thousand years
Stephen L. Edmundson,
Paul J Valdes and
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Mario Krapp: University of Cambridge
Andrea Manica: University of Cambridge
No d5hfx, EarthArXiv from Center for Open Science
A detailed and accurate reconstruction of past climate is essential in understanding the drivers that have shaped species, including our own, and their habitats. However, spatially-detailed climate reconstructions that continuously cover the Quaternary do not yet exist, mainly because no paleoclimate model can reconstruct regional-scale dynamics over geological time scales. Here we develop a new approach, the Global Climate Model Emulator (GCMET), which reconstructs the climate of the last 800 thousand years with unprecedented spatial detail. GCMET captures the temporal dynamics of glacial-interglacial climates as an Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity would whilst resolving the local dynamics with the accuracy of a Global Climate Model. It provides a new, unique resource to explore the climate of the Quaternary, which we use to investigate the long-term stability of major habitat types. We identify a number of stable pockets of habitat that have remained unchanged over the last 800 thousand years, acting as potential long-term evolutionary refugia. Thus, the highly detailed, comprehensive overview of climatic changes through time delivered by GCMET provides the needed resolution to quantify the role of long term habitat fragmentation in an ecological and anthropological context.
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