Evaluating seasonal sea-ice cover over the Southern Ocean from the Last Glacial Maximum
Abstract. Sea-ice cover over the Southern Ocean responds to and impacts Southern Ocean dynamics and, thus, mid to high latitude climate in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, sea-ice cover can significantly modulate the carbon exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean. As climate models are the only tool available to project future climate changes, it is important to assess their performance in simulating past changes. The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼21,000 years ago) represents an
... epresents an interesting target as it is a relatively well documented period with climatic conditions and a carbon cycle very different from pre-industrial conditions. Here, we study the changes in seasonal Antarctic sea-ice cover as simulated in numerical PMIP3 and LOVECLIM simulations of the LGM, and their relationship with windstress and ocean temperature. Simulations and paleo-proxy records suggest a fairly well constrained glacial winter sea-ice edge at 51.5° S (1 sigma range: 50°–55.5° S). Simulated glacial summer sea-ice cover however differs widely between models, ranging from almost no sea ice to a sea-ice edge reaching 55.5° S. The austral summer multi-model mean sea-ice edge lies at ∼60.5° S (1 sigma range: 57.5°–70.5° S). Given the lack of strong constraints on the summer sea-ice edge based on sea-ice proxy records, we extend our model-data comparison to summer sea-surface temperature. Our analysis suggests that the multi-model mean summer sea ice provides a reasonable, albeit upper end, estimate of the austral summer sea-ice edge allowing us to conclude that the multi-model mean of austral summer and winter sea-ice cover seem to provide good estimates of LGM conditions. Using these best estimates, we find that there was a larger sea-ice seasonality during the LGM compared to the present day.