Climate of the Past (May 2021)

Impact of dust in PMIP-CMIP6 mid-Holocene simulations with the IPSL model

  • P. Braconnot,
  • S. Albani,
  • S. Albani,
  • Y. Balkanski,
  • A. Cozic,
  • M. Kageyama,
  • A. Sima,
  • O. Marti,
  • J.-Y. Peterschmitt

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 17
pp. 1091 – 1117


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We investigate the climate impact of reduced dust during the mid-Holocene using simulations with the IPSL model. We consider simulations where dust is either prescribed from an IPSL PI simulation or from CESM simulations (Albani et al., 2015). In addition, we also consider an extreme mid-Holocene case where dust is suppressed. We focus on the estimation of the dust radiative effects and the relative responses of the African and Indian monsoon, showing how local dust forcing or orography affect atmospheric temperature profiles, humidity and precipitation. The simulated mid-Holocene climate is statistically different in many regions compared to previous mid-Holocene simulations with the IPSL models. However, it translates to only minor improvements compared to palaeoclimate reconstructions, and the effect of dust has little impact on mid-Holocene model skill over large regions. Our analyses confirm the peculiar role of dust radiative effect over bright surfaces such as African deserts compared to other regions, brought about by the change of sign of the dust radiative effect at the top of atmosphere for high surface albedo. We also highlight a strong dependence of results on the dust pattern. In particular, the relative dust forcing between West Africa and the Middle East impacts the relative climate response between India and Africa and between Africa, the western tropical Atlantic and the Atlantic meridional circulation. It also affects the feedback on the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation. Dust patterns should thus be better constrained to fully understand the changes in the dust cycle and forcing during the mid-Holocene, which also informs on the potential changes in key dust feedbacks in the future.