06 Sep 2022
06 Sep 2022

Dansgaard-Oeschger events in climate models: Review and baseline MIS3 protocol

Irene Malmierca-Vallet1, Louise C. Sime1, and the D-O community members Irene Malmierca-Vallet et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • A full list of authors appears at the end of the paper.

Abstract. Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events, millennial-scale climate oscillations between stadial and interstadial conditions (of up to 10–15 °C in amplitude at high northern latitudes), occurred throughout the Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3; 27.8–59.4 ka) period. The climate modelling community up to now has not been able to answer the question: Are our climate models too stable to simulate D-O events? To address this, this manuscript lays the ground-work for a MIS3 D-O protocol for general circulation models which are used in the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) assessments. We review: D-O terminology, community progress on simulating D-O events in these IPCC-class models (processes and published examples), and evidence about the boundary conditions under which D-O events occur. We find that no model exhibits D-O like behaviour under pre-industrial conditions. Some, but not all, models exhibit D-O like oscillations under MIS3 and/or full glacial conditions. Greenhouse gases and ice-sheet configurations are crucial. However most models have not run simulations of long enough duration to be sure which models show D-O like behaviour, under either MIS3 or full glacial states. We propose a MIS3 baseline protocol at 38 ky (38 to 32 ky) period, which (1) shows a regular sequence of D-O events, and (2) features the intermediate ice-sheet configuration and medium-to-low MIS3 greenhouse gas values which our review suggests are most conducive to D-O like behaviour in models. We also provide a protocol for a second "kicked Heinrich meltwater" experiment, since previous work suggests that this variant may be helpful in preconditioning a state in models which is conducive to D-O events. This review and protocol is intended to provide modelling groups investigating MIS3 D-O oscillations with a common framework.

Irene Malmierca-Vallet et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-707', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 Oct 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Irene Malmierca Vallet, 30 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-707', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Oct 2022

Irene Malmierca-Vallet et al.

Irene Malmierca-Vallet et al.


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Short summary
Greenland ice core records feature Dansgaard–Oeschger (DO) events; abrupt warming episodes followed by a gradual cooling phase during mid-glacial periods. There is uncertainty whether current climate models can effectively represent the processes that cause D-O events. Here, we propose a Marine Isotopic Stage 3 (MIS 3) baseline protocol which is intended to provide modelling groups investigating D-O oscillations with a common framework.