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Sr/Ca proxy sea-surface temperature reconstructions from modern and holocene Montastraea faveolata specimens from the Dry Tortugas National Park

July 29, 2013

Sr/Ca ratios from skeletal samples from two Montastraea faveolata corals (one modern, one Holocene, ~6 Ka) from the Dry Tortugas National Park were measured as a proxy for sea-surface temperature (SST). We sampled coral specimens with a computer-driven triaxial micromilling machine, which yielded an average of 15 homogenous samples per annual growth increment. We regressed Sr/Ca values from resulting powdered samples against a local SST record to obtain a calibration equation of Sr/Ca = -0.0392 SST + 10.205, R = -0.97. The resulting calibration was used to generate a 47-year modern (1961-2008) and a 7-year Holocene (~6 Ka) Sr/Ca subannually resolved proxy record of SST. The modern M. faveolata yields well-defined annual Sr/Ca cycles ranging in amplitude from ~0.3 and 0.5 mmol/mol. The amplitude of ~0.3 to 0.5 mmol/mol equates to a 10-15°C seasonal SST amplitude, which is consistent with available local instrumental records. Summer maxima proxy SSTs calculated from the modern coral Sr/ Ca tend to be fairly stable: most SST maxima from 1961–2008 are 29°C ± 1°C. In contrast, winter minimum SST calculated in the 47-year modern time-series are highly variable, with a cool interval in the early to mid-1970s. The Holocene (~6 Ka) Montastraea faveolata coral also yields distinct annual Sr/Ca cycles with amplitudes ranging from ~0.3 to 0.6 mmol/mol. Absolute Sr/Ca values and thus resulting SST estimates over the ~7-year long record are similar to those from the modern coral. We conclude that Sr/Ca from Montastraea faveolata has high potential for developing subannually resolved Holocene SST records.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2013
Title Sr/Ca proxy sea-surface temperature reconstructions from modern and holocene <i>Montastraea faveolata</i> specimens from the Dry Tortugas National Park
DOI 10.2112/SI63-003.1
Authors Jennifer A. Flannery, Richard Z. Poore
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Coastal Research
Series Number
Index ID 70047273
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center