2Ma transient simulation with CESM1.2, Human habitats

To better quantify the impact of climate variability on human evolutionary transitions, the ICCP has conducted an unprecedent super-long transient climate model simulation, covering the global climate history of the past 2 million years ago (“2Ma”). This simulation is based on the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 (CESM1.2) in 3.75°×3.75° horizontal resolution forced with the Northern hemispheric ice sheet distribution and CO2 concentration and astronomical insolation changes. We combined a transient Pleistocene climate model simulation with an extensive compilation of hominin fossils and archaeological artefacts to study the environmental context of hominin evolution. The climate envelope model, based on a 4-dimensional Mahalanobis metric, stratifies the data entries into spatiotemporally delimited groups for early African hominins (Homo habilis and Homo ergaster combined as one group, Eurasian Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens, separately).

Dataset doi:

Related publications: Climate effects on archaic human habitats and species successions, Timmermann, K.-S. Yun, P. Raia, J. Ruan, E. Zeller, C. Zollikofer, M. P. de León, D. Lemmon, M. Willeit, A. Ganopolski, Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04600-9 (2022).

The following data is available through our OPeNDAP and LAS server.


  1. There are several periods when hominins did not exist. The non-existent hominin habitats are displayed as Nan values.
  2. The time axis ranging from 0001 to 2001 indicates the climate history from 2Ma (0001) to present-day (2001), with an interval of 1000-year.
  3. The simulations are conducted without CO2 fertilization, in contrast to what is mentioned in the paper Methods section.
variable OPeNDAP LAS
hominin-habitats Data Access Data Access

The 3Ma transient climate simulation data is avalible here