Mechanisms of southern Caribbean SST variability over the last two millennia

Jennifer B. Wurtzel, David E. Black, Robert C. Thunell, Larry C. Peterson, Eric J. Tappa, Shaily Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We present a high-resolution Mg/Ca reconstruction of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) spanning the last 2000 years using seasonally representative foraminifera from the Cariaco Basin. The range of summer/fall SST over this interval is restricted to 1.5°C, while winter/spring SST varies by 4.5°C over the same time period suggesting that boreal winter variations control interannual SST variability in the tropical North Atlantic. Antiphasing between the two data sets, including a large divergence in the seasonal records circa 900 Common Era, can be explained by changes in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and associated changes in surface/subsurface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic as well as resultant changes in trade wind belt location and intensity. A statistically significant but nonlinear relation exists between reconstructed winter/spring temperatures and solar variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5954-5958
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 28 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Mg/Ca thermometry
  • multidecadal variability
  • paleoclimate
  • planktonic foraminifera
  • solar variability
  • tropical Atlantic SST

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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