Spatial and temporal robustness of Sr/Ca‐SST calibrations in Red Sea corals : evidence for influence of mean annual temperature on calibration slopes
Murty, Sujata A.
Bernstein, Whitney N.
Ossolinski, Justin E.
Davis, R. S.
Goodkin, Nathalie F.
Hughen, Konrad A.
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Sr/Ca ratios recorded in the aragonite skeleton of massive coral colonies are commonly used to reconstruct seasonal‐ to centennial‐scale variability in sea surface temperature (SST). While the Sr/Ca paleothermometer is robust in individual colonies, Sr/Ca‐SST relationships between colonies vary, leading to questions regarding the utility of the proxy. We present biweekly‐resolution calibrations of Sr/Ca from five Porites spp. corals to satellite SST across 10° of latitude in the Red Sea to evaluate the Sr/Ca proxy across both spatial and temporal scales. SST is significantly correlated with coral Sr/Ca at each site, accounting for 69–84% of Sr/Ca variability (P ≪ 0.01). Intercolony variability in Sr/Ca‐SST sensitivities reveals a latitudinal trend, where calibration slopes become shallower with increasing mean annual temperature. Mean annual temperature is strongly correlated with the biweekly‐resolution calibration slopes across five Red Sea sites (r2 = 0.88, P = 0.05), while also correlating significantly to Sr/Ca‐SST slopes for 33 Porites corals from across the entire Indo‐Pacific region (r2 = 0.26, P < 0.01). Although interannual summer, winter, and mean annual calibrations for individual Red Sea colonies are inconsistently robust, combined multicoral calibrations are significant at summer (r2 = 0.53, P ≪ 0.01), winter (r2 = 0.62, P ≪ 0.01), and mean annual time scales (r2 = 0.79, P ≪ 0.01). Our multicoral, multisite study indicates that the Sr/Ca paleothermometer is accurate across both temporal and spatial scales in the Red Sea and also potentially explains for the first time variability in Sr/Ca‐SST calibration slopes across the Indo‐Pacific region. Our study provides strong evidence supporting the robustness of the coral Sr/Ca proxy for examining seasonal to multicentury variability in global climate phenomena.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 33 (2018): 443-456, doi:10.1029/2017PA003276.
Suggested CitationPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 33 (2018): 443-456
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