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Paleo Slide Set: Coral Paleoclimatology
Records of coral Cd/Ca and Ba/Ca and East Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies.
This graph compares coral cadmium/calcium and barium/calcium anomalies from a coral core from Punta Pitt with East Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies from Puerto Chicama for the period 1950-1980. Because of their nutrient-like distribution, cadmium and barium act as sensitive indicators of vertical mixing in the water column. Note the strong correlation between negative Cd/Ca and Ba/Ca anomalies (e.g. a relative decrease in nutrient availability because of reduced upwelling) and positive SST anomalies during ENSO events. In the coming years, paleoclimatologists will be coming to the tropics, drilling more cores, and creating even longer records of tropical climatic variability. Coral paleoclimatology is a new and promising field because of the annual-resolution dating which growth bands allow and because of the strong proxy signals contained in the coral skeleton.

Photo Credits:
Thomas.G. Andrews
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program
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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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