Coral-based climate reconstructions from a massive Porites coral from Sabine Bank (Vanuatu)
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A monthly resolved, 133 year record of coral Sr/Ca variations has been developed from a massive Porites coral that was drilled in the shallow waters of a submerged carbonate platform (Sabine Bank, 15.9°S, 166.14°E) located ~50 km west of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. This truly open-ocean site, at which daily measurements of temperature and salinity are available for ~ 6 years, permits the reconstruction of local environmental variability using variations in coral skeletal geochemistry. Coral Sr/Ca-SST variations are well matched to variations in local SST, but bear little relation to changes in local SSS indicating little or no influence of salinity on coral Sr/Ca. The complete coral Sr/Ca-SST time series is characterized by abundant inter-annual variability, a strong trend towards warming (i.e., lower Sr/Ca values) from ~1980-2006. Interannual SSTA variations at Sabine Bank correspond reasonably well to SSTA variations from the central Pacific cool tongue (Niño 3.4 region), indicating that coral Sr/Ca variations record ENSO variability in the region.