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Caribbean coral tracks Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and past hurricane activity

Steffen Hetzinger, Miriam Pfeiffer, Wolf-Christian Dullo, Noel Keenlyside, Mojib Latif and Jens Zinke
Caribbean coral tracks Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and past hurricane activity
Geology (Boulder) (January 2008) 36 (1): 11-14


It is highly debated whether global warming contributed to the strong hurricane activity observed during the last decade. The crux of the recent debate is the limited length of the reliable instrumental record that exacerbates the detection of possible long-term changes in hurricane activity, which naturally exhibits strong multidecadal variations that are associated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The AMO, itself a major mode of climate variability, remains also poorly understood because of limited data. Here, we present the first coral-based proxy record (delta (super 18) O) that clearly captures multidecadal variations in the AMO and the hurricane activity. Our record, obtained from a brain coral situated in the Atlantic hurricane domain, is equally sensitive to variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and seawater delta (super 18) O, with the latter being strongly linked to precipitation, by this means amplifying large-scale climate signals in coral delta (super 18) O. The SST and precipitation signals in the coral provide the longest, thus far, continuous proxy-based record of hurricane activity that interestingly exhibits a long-term increase over the last century. As multidecadal SST variations in this region are closely related to the AMO, this study raises new possibilities to extend the limited observations and to gain new insights into the mechanisms underlying the AMO and long-term hurricane variations.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 36
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Caribbean coral tracks Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and past hurricane activity
Affiliation: Leibniz Institut fuer Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Federal Republic of Germany
Pages: 11-14
Published: 200801
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 35
Accession Number: 2008-028888
Categories: Quaternary geologyIsotope geochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2008007
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
N11°41'60" - N11°48'00", W66°45'00" - W66°45'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NLD, Netherlands
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200809
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