Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics

Corals as climate archives - tropical Atlantic

Sampling of massive Diploria strigosa colony, Archipelago Los Roques, Venezuela
Underwater sampling using an air-powered drill

Due to their long lifetime (up to several centuries) and rapid growth (typically >1 cm/year), massive-growing tropical corals can provide an ideal archive for the reconstruction of seasonal to multidecadal variability of environmental variables. 

Compared to the extensive research employing coral paleoclimate reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific Ocean that provide climate records covering several hundred years using corals of the genus Porites sp., thus far only few studies have provided coral proxy records of comparable length from the tropical Atlantic, mainly using corals of the genus Montastraea sp. 
Only recently it was demonstrated that massive fast-growing Caribbean corals of the species Diploria strigosa can provide accurate, monthly resolved records of climate variability in the tropical North Atlantic (Shallow-water corals as high-resolution archives). By analyzing geochemical proxies from long-lived massive Diploria strigosa, it is now possible to develop century-long reconstructions of SST with seasonal resolution that extend far beyond the reliable observational record. 

Shallow-water corals as high-resolution archives

 

back: Cold-water corals