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The effect of skeletal mass accumulation in Porites on coral Sr/Ca and ¿18O paleothermometry

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Paleotemperature estimates based on coral Sr/Ca have not been widely accepted because the reconstructed glacial-Holocene shift in tropical sea-surface temperature (∼4-6C) is larger than that indicated by foraminiferal Mg/Ca (∼2-4C). We show that corals over-estimate changes in sea-surface temperature (SST) because their records are attenuated during skeletogenesis within the living tissue layer. To quantify this process, we microprofiled skeletal mass accumulation within the tissue layer of Porites from Australasian coral reefs and laboratory culturing experiments. The results show that the sensitivity of the Sr/Ca and δ18O thermometers in Porites will be suppressed, variable, and dependent on the relationship between skeletal growth rate and mass accumulation within the tissue layer. Our findings help explain why δ18O-SST sensitivities for Porites range from-0.08‰/C to-0.22‰/C and are always less than the value of-0.23‰/C established for biogenic aragonite. Based on this observation, we recalibrated the coral Sr/Ca thermometer to determine a revised sensitivity of-0.084 mmol/mol/C. After rescaling, most of the published Sr/Ca-SST estimates for the Indo-Pacific region for the last ∼14,000 years (-7C to +2C relative to modern) fall within the 95% confidence envelope of the foraminiferal Mg/Ca-SST records. We conclude that two types of calibration scales are required for coral paleothermometry; an attenuated Porites-specific thermometer sensitivity for studies of seasonal to interannual change in SST and, importantly, the rescaled-0.084 mmol/mol/C Sr/Ca sensitivity for studies of 20th-century trends and millennial-scale changes in mean SST. The calibration-scaling concept will apply to the development of transfer functions for all geochemical tracers in corals. © 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Gagan, M. K., Dunbar, G. B., & Suzuki, A. (2012). The effect of skeletal mass accumulation in Porites on coral Sr/Ca and ¿18O paleothermometry. Paleoceanography, 27(1). doi:10.1029/2011PA002215

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84856146489

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 27

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • Paleotemperature estimates based on coral Sr/Ca have not been widely accepted because the reconstructed glacial-Holocene shift in tropical sea-surface temperature (∼4-6C) is larger than that indicated by foraminiferal Mg/Ca (∼2-4C). We show that corals over-estimate changes in sea-surface temperature (SST) because their records are attenuated during skeletogenesis within the living tissue layer. To quantify this process, we microprofiled skeletal mass accumulation within the tissue layer of Porites from Australasian coral reefs and laboratory culturing experiments. The results show that the sensitivity of the Sr/Ca and δ18O thermometers in Porites will be suppressed, variable, and dependent on the relationship between skeletal growth rate and mass accumulation within the tissue layer. Our findings help explain why δ18O-SST sensitivities for Porites range from-0.08‰/C to-0.22‰/C and are always less than the value of-0.23‰/C established for biogenic aragonite. Based on this observation, we recalibrated the coral Sr/Ca thermometer to determine a revised sensitivity of-0.084 mmol/mol/C. After rescaling, most of the published Sr/Ca-SST estimates for the Indo-Pacific region for the last ∼14,000 years (-7C to +2C relative to modern) fall within the 95% confidence envelope of the foraminiferal Mg/Ca-SST records. We conclude that two types of calibration scales are required for coral paleothermometry; an attenuated Porites-specific thermometer sensitivity for studies of seasonal to interannual change in SST and, importantly, the rescaled-0.084 mmol/mol/C Sr/Ca sensitivity for studies of 20th-century trends and millennial-scale changes in mean SST. The calibration-scaling concept will apply to the development of transfer functions for all geochemical tracers in corals. © 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Gagan, M. K., Dunbar, G. B., & Suzuki, A. (2012). The effect of skeletal mass accumulation in Porites on coral Sr/Ca and ¿18O paleothermometry. Paleoceanography, 27(1). doi:10.1029/2011PA002215

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84856146489

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 27

Issue


  • 1