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Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (PlioMIP3) – Science plan and experimental design

December 12, 2023

The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) was initiated in 2008. Over two phases PlioMIP has helped co-ordinate the experimental design and publication strategy of the community, which has included an increasing number of climate models and modelling groups from around the world. It has engaged with palaeoenvironmental scientists to foster new data synthesis supporting the construction of new model boundary conditions, as well as to facilitate new data-model comparisons. The work has advanced our understanding of Pliocene climates and environments, enhanced our knowledge regarding the ability of complex climate and Earth System models to accurately simulate climate change, and helped to refine our estimates of how sensitive the climate system is to forcing conditions.

In this community protocol paper, we outline the scientific plan for PlioMIP Phase 3 (PlioMIP3). This plan provides the required guidance to participating modelling groups from around the world to successfully set up and perform PlioMIP3 climate model experiments. The project is open to new participants from the scientific community (both from the climate modelling and geosciences communities).

In PlioMIP3, we retain the PlioMIP2 Core experiments (Eoi400, E280) and extend the Core requirements to include either an experiment focussed on the Early Pliocene or an alternative Late Pliocene simulation (or both). These additions (a) allow a comparison of Early and Late Pliocene warm intervals and help build research connections and synergy with the MioMIP (Miocene Model Intercomparison Project - also known as DeepMIP-Miocene) and PlioMioVAR projects (Pliocene-Miocene Variability Working Group), and (b) create an alternative time slice simulation for 3.205 Ma (MIS KM5c) through removal of some of the largest palaeogeographic differences introduced between PlioMIP1 and 2 resulting in minimal land-sea mask variations from the modern. In addition, we present ten optional experiments designed to enhance our assessment of climate sensitivity and to explore the uncertainty in greenhouse gas-related forcing. For the first time, we introduce orbital sensitivity experiments into the science plan, as well as simulations incorporating dynamic vegetation-climate feedbacks and an experiment designed to examine the potential significance of East Antarctic Ice Sheet boundary condition uncertainty. These changes enhance palaeo-to-future scientific connections and enable an exploration of the significance of palaeogeographic uncertainties on climate simulations.

Publication Year 2024
Title Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (PlioMIP3) – Science plan and experimental design
DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104316
Authors Alan M Haywood, Julia C. Tindall, Lauren Burton, M.A. Chandler, Aisling M Dolan, Harry J. Dowsett, R. Feng, Tamara Fletcher, Kevin M. Foley, Daniel Hill, Stephen Hunter, B. Otto-Bliesner, D.J. Lunt, Marci M. Robinson, U. Salzmann
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Global and Planeatary Change
Index ID 70250797
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center; Florence Bascom Geoscience Center