The penultimate deglaciation: protocol for PMIP4 transient numerical simulations between 140 and 127 ka
The penultimate deglaciation (~138–128 thousand years before present, hereafter ka) is the transition from the penultimate glacial maximum to the Last Interglacial (LIG, ~129–116ka). The LIG stands out as one of the warmest interglacials of the last 800ka, with high-latitude temperature warmer than today and global sea level likely higher by at least 6 meters. The LIG therefore receives ever-growing attention, in particular to identify mechanisms and feedbacks responsible for such regional warmth that is comparable to that expected before 2100. Considering the transient nature of the Earth system, the LIG climate and ice-sheets evolution were certainly influenced by the changes occurring during the penultimate deglaciation. It is thus important to investigate the climate and environmental response to the large changes in boundary conditions (i.e. orbital configuration, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, ice sheet geometry) occurring during this time interval.A deglaciation working group has recently been set up as part of the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) phase 4, with a protocol to perform transient simulations of the last deglaciation (19–11ka). Similar to the last deglaciation, the disintegration of continental ice-sheets during the penultimate deglaciation led to significant changes in the oceanic circulation during Heinrich Stadial 11 (~136–129ka). However, the two deglaciations bear significant differences in magnitude and temporal evolution of climate and environmental changes.Here, as part of the PAGES-PMIP working group on Quaternary Interglacials, we propose a protocol to perform transient simulations of the penultimate deglaciation to complement the PMIP4 effort. This design includes time-varying changes in orbital forcing, greenhouse gas concentrations, continental ice-sheets as well as freshwater input from the disintegration of continental ice-sheets. This experiment is designed to assess the coupled response of the climate system to all forcings. Additional sensitivity experiments are proposed to evaluate the response to each forcing. Finally, a selection of paleo records representing different parts of the climate system is presented, providing an appropriate benchmark for upcoming model-data comparisons across the penultimate deglaciation.