The findings, published in Nature Climate Change, are important for helping predict future climate change patterns, researchers said.
“The advances made in climate modelling means that we can create a more accurate simulation of the Earth's past climate, which, in turn gives us greater confidence in model predictions for the future,” said joint lead author Maria Vittoria Guarino with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in a statement.
Using the U.K. Met Office’s Hadley Centre climate model, researchers were able to see how the Arctic sea ice -- frozen ocean water that forms and melts in the ocean -- completely melted during that period.
By understanding what happened during Earth's last warm period we are in a better position to understand what will happen in the future,” said Louise Sime, also a joint lead author with BAS.
A simulation using the same model looking at future patterns instead, supported the prediction of a “fast retreat of future Arctic summer sea ice,” the study concluded.