Evidence of reduced mid-Holocene ENSO variance on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Leonard, N. D., Welsh, K. J., Lough, J. M., Feng, Y., Pandolfi, J. M., Clark, T. R. and Zhao, J. (2016) Evidence of reduced mid-Holocene ENSO variance on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Paleoceanography, 31 9: 1248-1260. doi:10.1002/2016PA002967


Author Leonard, N. D.
Welsh, K. J.
Lough, J. M.
Feng, Y.
Pandolfi, J. M.
Clark, T. R.
Zhao, J.
Title Evidence of reduced mid-Holocene ENSO variance on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Journal name Paleoceanography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1944-9186
0883-8305
Publication date 2016-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/2016PA002967
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 9
Start page 1248
End page 1260
Total pages 13
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Globally, coral reefs are under increasing pressure both through direct anthropogenic influence and increases in climate extremes. Understanding past climate dynamics that negatively affected coral reef growth is imperative for both improving management strategies and for modeling coral reef responses to a changing climate. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the primary source of climate variability at interannual timescales on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), northeastern Australia. Applying continuous wavelet transforms to visually assessed coral luminescence intensity in massive Porites corals from the central GBR we demonstrate that these records reliably reproduce ENSO variance patterns for the period 1880–1985. We then applied this method to three subfossil corals from the same reef to reconstruct ENSO variance from ~5200 to 4300 years before present (yBP). We show that ENSO events were less extreme and less frequent after ~5200 yBP on the GBR compared to modern records. Growth characteristics of the corals are consistent with cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) between 5200 and 4300 yBP compared to both the millennia prior (~6000 yBP) and modern records. Understanding ENSO dynamics in response to SST variability at geological timescales will be important for improving predictions of future ENSO response to a rapidly warming climate.
Keyword Coral luminescence
ENSO
Great Barrier Reef
Mid-Holocene
Paleoclimate
Wavelet
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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