An Overview of PMIP
Despite its name as the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project, PMIP is a community of researchers who have realized that by cooperating amongst themselves they can achieve more better science. This voluntary organization helps coordinate experiments and efforts and drive forward paleoclimate modelling.
- Coordinated paleo-experiments, multi-model analyses
PMIP organizes coordinated model experiments for key past periods. From being restricted to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ~21000 years ago) and the Mid-Holocene (MH, ~6000 years ago) in the first phases of the project, the list has now grown to include many other periods when climate was at equilibrium as well as simulations of past climate changes (more details below). These experiments are designed to study the impact of changes in boundary conditions (e.g. ice-sheets for the LGM) and external forcings (e.g. insolation for the MH) as well as the impact of feedbacks or new processes progressively added in climate models. The availability of results from many models allows an assessment of range of model responses and of the robustness of the mechanisms leading to the simulated climate changes.
- Benchmarking of model results based on paleo-data
Models that perform equally well for present-day may produce very different responses to likely changes in forcing in the future. This makes it vital to evaluate and benchmark models, by comparing simulations of past climates against paleo-observations. PMIP organizes paleo-benchmarking of models, by defining experimental protocols, assembling evaluation data sets and undertaking quantitative assessment of simulations.
- A forum for discussing paleoclimatic models and data
PMIP has involved hundreds of scientists in simulating paleoclimates and promoted synergies within the paleo-data community. This has resulted in improvements in the paleoclimate simulations and in the paleoclimate reconstructions. Discussions take place during PMIP workshops and conferences and within working groups. The list of working groups evolves following the interests of the PMIP community.