Numerical models of the global climate system are the primary tools used to understand and project climate disruptions in the form of future global warming. The Pliocene has been identified as the closest, albeit imperfect, analog to climate conditions expected for the end of this century, making an independent data set of Pliocene conditions necessary for ground truthing model results. Because most climate model output is produced in the form ofmean annual conditions, we present a derivative of the USGS PRISM3 Global Climate Reconstruction which integrates multiple proxies of sea surface temperature (SST) into single surface temperature anomalies. We analyze temperature estimates from faunal and floral assemblage data,Mg/Ca values and alkenone unsaturation indices to arrive at a single mean annual SST anomaly (Pliocene minus modern) best describing each PRISM site, understanding that multiple proxies should not necessarily show concordance. The power of themultiple proxy approach lies within its diversity, as no two proxies measure the same environmental variable. This data set can be used to verify climate model output, to serve as a starting point for model inter-comparisons, and for quantifying uncertainty in Pliocene model prediction in perturbed physics ensembles.
Additional publication details
Mid-Piacensian mean annual sea surface temperature: an analysis for data-model comparisons