Coral Records at the Northern Edge of the Western Pacific Warm Pool Reveal Multiple Drivers of Sea Surface Temperature, Salinity, and Rainfall Variability Since the End of the Little Ice Age

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area


Research Team

Marine Geochemistry


Reconstructions of key climate parameters prior to anthropogenic influences serve to constrain decadal to multicentury natural climate variability. In the western Pacific region, relatively few reconstructions exist north of the Western Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP), a region critical to global climate. In this study, we collected a coral core from Houbihu, southern Taiwan, and generated a 225‐year reconstruction of annual and wintertime sea surface temperature, dry season sea surface salinity, and wet season rainfall records derived from paired Porites Sr/Ca and δ18O profiles extending back to the end of the Little Ice Age (1850 CE). Multidecadal sea surface temperature trends generally track regional surface temperature reconstructions, indicating the dominant influence of solar and volcanic radiative forcings. Reconstructed dry season sea surface salinity reflects an advection signal linked to the East Asian Winter Monsoon and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, both influencing variations in the Kuroshio Intrusion across the Luzon Strait. Reconstructed wet season rainfall, on the other hand, reveals influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the decadal variability of local and regional rainfall patterns. Relative to the late 1900s, our climate reconstructions document cooler and drier (high salinity and low rainfall) conditions during the end of the Little Ice Age, supporting other lines of evidence of a retracted WPWP region during this period. In the late 20th to early 21st century, our climate reconstructions record warming and freshening (low salinity and high rainfall) trends, highlighting the potential impact of anthropogenic forcing in the extension of the WPWP.

Publication Details


Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology





Date Published


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