An evaluation of the simulated water balance of Eurasia and northern Africa at 6000 y BP using lake status data

G. Yu, S. P. Harrison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Changes in the water balance of Eurasia and northern Africa in response to insolation forcing at 6000 y BP simulated by five atmospheric general circulation models have been compared with observations of changes in lake status. All of the simulations show enhancement of the Asian summer monsoon and of the high pressure cells over the Pacific and Central Asia and the Middle East, causing wetter conditions in northern India and southern China and drier conditions along the Chinese coast and west of the monsoon core. All of the models show enhancement of the African monsoon, causing wetter conditions in the zone between ca 10-20°N. Four of the models show conditions wetter than present in southern Europe and drier than present in northern Europe. Three of the models show conditions similar to present in the mid-latitude continental interior, while the remaining models show conditions somewhat drier than present. The extent and location of each of the simulated changes varies between the models, as does the mechanism producing these changes. The lake data confirm some features of the simulations, but indicate discrepancies between observed and simulated climates. For example, the data show: (1) conditions wetter than present in central Asia, from India to northern China and Mongolia, indicating that the simulated Asian monsoon expansion is too small; (2) conditions wetter than present between ca. 10-30°N in Africa, indicating that the simulated African monsoon expansion is too small; (3) that northern Europe was drier, but the area of significantly drier conditions was more localized (around the Baltic) than shown in the simulations; (4) that southern Europe was wetter than present, apparently consistent with the simulations, but pollen data suggest that this reflects an increase in summer rainfall whereas the models show winter precipitation, and (5) that the midlatitude continental interior was generally wetter than present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-735
Number of pages13
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996

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