Summary Report No. 34


Simulation of the global bio-geophysical interactions during the Last Glacial Maximum

C. Kubatzki, M. Claussen (January 1998)

The bio-geophysical feedbacks during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21,000 yBP) are investigated by use of an asynchronously coupled global atmosphere-biome model. It is found that the coupled model improves on the results of an atmosphere-only model, especially for the Siberian region, where the inclusion of vegetation-snow-albedo interaction leads to a better agreement with geological reconstructions. Furthermore, it is shown that two stable solutions of the coupled model are possible under LGM boundary conditions. The presence of bright sand desert at the beginning of a simulation leads to more extensive subtropical deserts, whereas an initial global vegetation cover with forest, steppe, or dark desert results in a northward spread of vegetation of up to some 1,000 km, mainly in the western Sahara. These differences can be explained in the framework of Charney‘s (1975) theory of a self-induction of deserts through albedo enhancement. Moreover, it is seen that the tropical easterly jet is strengthened in the case of the "green" Sahara, which in turn leads to a modification of the Indian summer monsoon.