Title

Assessing the potential of Southern Caribbean corals for reconstructions of Holocene temperature variability

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Giry, C, Felis, T, Scheffers, S & Fensterer, C 2010, 'Assessing the potential of Southern Caribbean corals for reconstructions of Holocene temperature variability', IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, vol. 9, no. 012021.

Article available on Open Access

Abstract

We present a 40-year long monthly resolved Sr/Ca record from a fossil Diploria strigosa coral from Bonaire (Southern Caribbean Sea) dated with U/Th at 2.35 ka before present (BP). Secondary modifiers of this sea surface temperature (SST) proxy in annually-banded corals such as diagenetic alteration of the skeleton and skeletal growth-rate are investigated. Extensive diagenetic investigations reveal that this fossil coral skeleton is pristine which is further supported by clear annual cycles in the coral Sr/Ca record. No significant correlation between annual growth rate and Sr/Ca is observed, suggesting that the Sr/Ca record is not affected by coral growth. Therefore, we conclude that the observed interannual Sr/Ca variability was influenced by ambient SST variability. Spectral analysis of the annual mean Sr/Ca record reveals a dominant frequency centred at 6–7 years that is not associated with changes of the annual growth rate. The first monthly resolved coral Sr/Ca record from the Southern Caribbean Sea for preindustrial time suggests that fossil corals from Bonaire are suitable tools for reconstructing past SST variability. Coastal deposits on Bonaire provide abundant fossil D. strigosa colonies of Holocene age that can be accurately dated and used to reconstruct climate variability. Comparisons of long monthly resolved Sr/Ca records from multiple fossil corals will provide a mean to estimate seasonality and interannual to interdecadal SST variability of the Southern Caribbean Sea during the Holocene.