The PRISM 8?x10? data set represents several years of investigation by PRISM (Pliocene Research, Interpretation, and Synoptic Mapping) Project members. One of the goals of PRISM is to produce time-slice reconstructions of intervals of warmer than modern climate within the Pliocene Epoch. The first of these was chosen to be at 3.0 Ma (time scale of Berggren et al., 1985) and is published in Global and Planetary Change (Dowsett et al., 1994). This document contains the actual data sets and a brief explanation of how they were constructed. For paleoenvironmental interpretations and discussion of each data set, see Dowsett et al., in press. The data sets includes sea level, land ice distribution, vegetation or land cover, sea surface temperature and sea-ice cover matrices.
This reconstruction of Middle Pliocene climate is organized as a series of datasets representing different environmental attributes. The data sets are designed for use with the GISS Model II atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) using an 8?x10? resolution (Hansen et al., 1983). The first step in documenting the Pliocene climate involves assigning an appropriate fraction of land versus ocean to each grid box. Following grid cell by grid cell, land versus ocean allocations, winter and summer sea ice coverage of ocean areas are assigned and then winter and summer sea surface temperatures are assigned to open ocean areas. Average land ice cover is recorded for land areas and then land areas not covered by ice are assigned proportions of six vegetation or land cover categories modified from Hansen et al. (1983).