Constraining Clouds and Convective Parameterizations in a Climate Model Using Paleoclimate Data

R. D. Ramos, A. N. LeGrande, M. L. Griffiths, G. S. Elsaesser, D. T. Litchmore, J. E. Tierney, F. S.R. Pausata, J. Nusbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cloud and convective parameterizations strongly influence uncertainties in equilibrium climate sensitivity. We provide a proof-of-concept study to constrain these parameterizations in a perturbed parameter ensemble of the atmosphere-only version of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies Model E2.1 simulations by evaluating model biases in the present-day runs using multiple satellite climatologies and by comparing simulated δ18O of precipitation (δ18Op), known to be sensitive to parameterization schemes, with a global database of speleothem δ18O records covering the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), mid-Holocene (MH) and pre-industrial (PI) periods. Relative to modern interannual variability, paleoclimate simulations show greater sensitivity to parameter changes, allowing for an evaluation of model uncertainties over a broader range of climate forcing and the identification of parts of the world that are parameter sensitive. Certain simulations reproduced absolute δ18Op values across all time periods, along with LGM and MH δ18Op anomalies relative to the PI, better than the default parameterization. No single set of parameterizations worked well in all climate states, likely due to the non-stationarity of cloud feedbacks under varying boundary conditions. Future work that involves varying multiple parameter sets simultaneously with coupled ocean feedbacks will likely provide improved constraints on cloud and convective parameterizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021MS002893
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • PPE
  • cloud and convective parameterization
  • paleoclimate model
  • proxy-model comparison
  • speleothem
  • water isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Constraining Clouds and Convective Parameterizations in a Climate Model Using Paleoclimate Data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this