A Fossil Coral Perspective on Western Tropical Pacific Climate Similar to 350 Ka

Document Type


Publication Date



coral, climate, geochemistry

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



[1] The nature of tropical climate variability similar to 350 ka is addressed using delta(18)O and Sr/Ca records from a modern and a fossil coral from Vanuatu ( southwestern tropical Pacific Ocean). Modern El Nino events at Vanuatu produce positive coral delta(18)O and Sr/Ca anomalies; similar anomalies observed in the fossil coral records suggest that El Nino was operative 350 kyr ago. Seasonal variations in coral Sr/Ca, a sea surface temperature (SST) proxy, have the same amplitude in both corals, whereas seasonal delta(18)O variations are smaller in the fossil coral than in the modern coral. This is consistent with displacement of the South Pacific Convergence Zone toward the southwest during the boreal summer similar to 350 ka. Mathematical modeling results preclude warmer SST and higher SSS at Vanuatu during this time, but permit the surface ocean to be similar to2degreesC cooler and 0 - 2 psu fresher than today. Assessing the potential of variations in late Quaternary seawater Sr/Ca remains the largest obstacle to accurately reconstructing tropical SST using pristine fossil corals.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Paleoceanography, v. 19, no. 1, article PA1019.