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A 50-year Sr/Ca time series from an enclosed, shallow-water Guam coral: In situ monitoring and extraction of a temperature trend, annual cycle, and ENSO and PDO signals

December 11, 2018

Located on the northern edge of the West Pacific Warm Pool and having a developed economy and modern infrastructure, Guam is well positioned and equipped for obtaining natural records of the west Pacific maritime paleoclimate. This study was a proof of concept to explore whether useful climate proxy records might be obtained from coral at readily accessible, even if geochemically nonoptimal, coastal sites. A 50-year Sr/Ca record (1960–2010) was thus obtained from a shallow-water, near-shore Porites luteacolony at a recreational facility inside Guam's Apra Harbor and compared with local and regional meteorological records, including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) indices. The accessibility of the site enabled documentation of relevant environmental variables for 16 months (September 2009–December 2010): seawater δ18O, pH, seawater cations, and nitrate. Time series of seawater δ18O, pH, and cations show evidence of freshwater input from direct rainfall and stream discharge into the harbor. An anomalously higher mean and variable concentrations of Ba suggest the presence of river-borne, fine-grained terrigenous sediment. Nevertheless, the Sr/Ca time series reproduces a long-term warming trend seen in historical records of local air temperature and regional sea-surface temperature (SST) and closely tracks the ENSO and PDO indices over the entire 50-year record. The consistency of the results with Guam's historical instrumental records, previous coral δ18O results from Guam obtained by others, and previous Sr/Ca proxy results for SST in similar environments elsewhere demonstrate that accessible near-shore sites—where environmental conditions can be monitored—can produce useful Sr/Ca records of local and regional climate phenomena.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title A 50-year Sr/Ca time series from an enclosed, shallow-water Guam coral: In situ monitoring and extraction of a temperature trend, annual cycle, and ENSO and PDO signals
DOI 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-16-00099.1
Authors Tomoko Bell, Mark Lander, John Jenson, Richard Randall, Judson W. Partin, Nancy G. Prouty
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Coastal Research
Series Number
Index ID 70201329
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center