Spatial and Temporal Robustness of Sr/Ca-SST Calibrations in Red Sea Corals: Evidence for Influence of Mean Annual Temperature on Calibration Slopes

TitleSpatial and Temporal Robustness of Sr/Ca-SST Calibrations in Red Sea Corals: Evidence for Influence of Mean Annual Temperature on Calibration Slopes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMurty S, Bernstein W, Ossolinski J, Davis R, Goodkin N, Hughen KA
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Volume33
Issue5
Pagination443-456
Date Published05/2018
Abstract

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.

DOI10.1029/2017PA003276