Detection of El Nino and Decade Time Scale Variations of Sea Surface Temperature from Banded Coral Records: Implications for the Carbon Dioxide Cycle

  1. E.T. Sundquist and
  2. W.S. Broecker
  1. Ellen R. M. Druffel

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM032p0111

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

How to Cite

Druffel, E. R. M. (1985) Detection of El Nino and Decade Time Scale Variations of Sea Surface Temperature from Banded Coral Records: Implications for the Carbon Dioxide Cycle, in The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present (eds E.T. Sundquist and W.S. Broecker), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM032p0111

Author Information

  1. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900605

Online ISBN: 9781118664322

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)—Congresses;
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide—Congresses;
  • Geological time—Congresses;
  • Paleothermometry—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Congresses

Summary

Stable oxygen isotope ratios from annually banded corals are correlated with historical records of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. El Nino events between 1929 and 1976 are detected using this method, but there are discrepancies between the records of El Ninos from corals and those determined using historical hydrographic and meteorologic data. The average annual depletion of δ18O during El Nino events is greater at the Galapagos Island sites (0.45°/oo) than at the Fanning and Canton Island sites in the mid-Pacific (0.20–0.30°/oo and <0.2°/oo, respectively). Of prime importance is evidence of decade time scale variability of sea surface temperature (SST) in the tropical Pacific. In particular, annually averaged SST appears to have been 0.5°–1°C higher in the eastern tropical Pacific during the 1930's than during subsequent years. A significant net flux of CO2 from the surface ocean to the atmosphere is envisioned during these periods of higher SST.