This study presents results from the Community Climate System Model 3 (CCSM3) forced with early to middle Miocene (~20–14 Ma) vegetation, topography, bathymetry, and modern CO2. A decrease in the meridional temperature gradient of 6.5°C and an increase in global mean temperature of 1.5°C are modeled in comparison with a control simulation forced with modern boundary conditions. Seasonal poleward displacements of the subtropical jet streams and storm tracks compared to the control simulation are associated with changes in Hadley circulation and significant cooling of the polar stratosphere, consistent with previously predicted effects of global warming. Energy budget calculations indicate that reduced albedo and topography were responsible for Miocene warmth in the high-latitude Northern Hemisphere while a combination of increased ocean heat transport and reduced albedo was responsible for relative warmth in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere, compared to the present. Model–data analysis suggests Miocene climate was significantly warmer and wetter than simulated here, consistent with previous uncoupled Miocene models and supports recent reconstructions of Miocene CO2 substantially higher than present.


Received: 26 August 2010

Final Form: 9 March 2011

Published Online: 15 December 2011

DOI: 10.1175/2011JCLI4035.1


Climate change, Carbon dioxide

Date of this Version