Climate Science

Refreshing CLIMAP

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Science  06 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5915, pp. 688-689
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5915.688c

A seminal quantitative global reconstruction of sea surface temperatures during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was completed over 3 decades ago. This CLIMAP (Climate Long-Range Investigation, Mapping and Prediction) project revealed important features such as the regional inhomogeneity of temperature change between the LGM and the pre-industrial Holocene, colder LGM temperatures at high latitudes than at low latitudes, and a relatively modest difference of about 2°C in tropical sea surface temperatures. Nevertheless, CLIMAP was a first iteration and contained a number of weaknesses, such as sparse data coverage in most regions and a limited number of techniques from which to estimate temperatures. Now, an expanded and improved reconstruction of LGM temperatures has been assembled by Waelbroeck et al. in the MARGO (Multiproxy Approach for the Reconstruction of the Glacial Ocean Surface) project. Incorporating a wide variety of temperature proxies and a spatially better-resolved set of data, MARGO strengthens many of the conclusions stemming from CLIMAP and clarifies other ambiguities and inconsistencies. — HJS

Nat. Geosci. 2, 10.1038/NGEO411 (2009).

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