High resolution LGM climate over Europe and the Alpine region using the regional climate model WRF
Abstract. In this study we present a series of sensitivity experiments conducted for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ~21000 years ago) over Europe using the regional climate Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF). Using a 4 step 2-way nesting approach, we are able to reach a convection-permitting horizontal resolution over the inner part of the study area, covering Central Europe and the Alpine region. The main objective of the paper is to evaluate a model version including a series of new developments better suitable for the simulation of paleo-glacial time slices with respect to the ones employed in former studies. The evaluation of the model is conducted against newly available pollen-based reconstructions of the LGM European climate and takes into account the effect of two main sources of model uncertainty: a different height of continental glaciers at higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere and different land cover. Model results are in good agreement with evidence from the proxies, in particular for temperatures. Importantly, the consideration of different ensemble members for characterizing model uncertainty allows to increase the agreement of the model against the proxy reconstructions that would be obtained when considering a single model realization. The spread of the produced ensemble is relatively small for temperature, beside areas surrounding glaciers in summer. On the other hand, differences between the different ensemble members are very pronounced for precipitation, in particular in winter over areas highly affected by moisture advection from the Atlantic. This highlights the importance of the considered sources of uncertainty for the study of European LGM climate and allows to determine where the results of an RCM are more likely to be uncertain for the considered case study. Finally, the results are also used to demonstrate the added value of convection-permitting resolutions, at both local and regional scales, under glacial conditions.
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