Monday, November 6, 2017

GCM Simulations of Unstable Climates in the Habitable Zone

GCM Simulations of Unstable Climates in the Habitable Zone


Paradise et al


It has recently been proposed that Earth-like planets in the outer regions of the habitable zone experience unstable climates, repeatedly cycling between glaciated and deglaciated climatic states. While this result has been confirmed and also extended to explain early Mars climate records, all existing work relies on highly idealized low-dimensional climate models. Here, we confirm that the phenomenology of climate cycles remains in 3D Earth climate models with considerably more degrees of freedom. To circumvent the computational barrier of integrating climate on Gyr timescales, we implement a hybrid 0D-3D integrator that uses a general circulation model (GCM) as a short relaxation step along a long evolutionary climate sequence. We find that GCM climate cycles are qualitatively consistent with reported low-dimensional results. This establishes on a firmer ground the notion that outer habitable zone planets may be preferentially found in transiently glaciated states.

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