A statistical framework for comparing paleoclimate data and climate model simulations

Co-Author: Gudrun Brattström, Anders Moberg, Rolf Sundberg, Qiong Zhang
The question of whether or not future climate change will be affected by human activity is now beyond reasonable doubt. In order to understand the degree of this influence in today's climate as well as the climate of the future, we also need to know about past climate changes. Whilst we are currently able to measure temperature and precipitation directly, we have only been able to do so for a relatively short time, roughly the last 150 years. Our understanding of the climate system before this is less certain as we have to rely on proxy reconstructions of climate variables, such as tree-ring data or historical documents. We can also use historical climate model simulations (such as the CESM-LME data) to simulate past climatic conditions. Ideally, both simulated and reconstructed approaches should be compared, but doing so is highly complicated. We intend to develop new statistical approaches for comparing these disparate climate data types, in order to better understand the climate of the past.' (Funded by the Swedish Research Council).