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Multi-species coral Sr/Ca-based sea-surface temperature reconstruction using Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea from the Florida Straits

November 23, 2016

We present new, monthly-resolved Sr/Ca-based sea-surface temperature (SST) records from two species of massive coral, Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea, from the Dry Tortugas National Park, FL, USA (DTNP). We combine these new records with published data from three additional S. siderea coral colonies to generate a 278-year long multi-species stacked Sr/Ca-SST record from DTNP. The composite record of mean annual Sr/Ca-SST at DTNP shows pronounced decadal-scale variability with a range of 1 to 2°C. Notable cool intervals in the Sr/Ca-derived SST lasting about a decade centered at ~1845, ~1935, and ~1965 are associated with reduced summer Sr/Ca-SST (monthly maxima < 29°C), and imply a reduction in the spatial extent of the Atlantic Warm Pool (AWP). There is significant coherence between the composite DTNP Sr/Ca-SST record and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index, with the AMO lagging Sr/Ca-SST at DTNP by 9 years. Low frequency variability in the Gulf Stream surface transport, which originates near DTNP, may provide a link for the lagged relationship between multidecadal variability at DTNP and the AMO.