Evidence for the non-influence of salinity variability on the Porites coral Sr/Ca palaeothermometer
Abstract. Porites coral-based sea surface temperature (SST) reconstructions are obtained from the measurement of skeleton Sr/Ca ratio. However, the influence of salinity in the incorporation of these trace elements in the Porites aragonitic skeleton is still poorly documented. Laboratory experiments indicate that in three different coral species (not including the widely used Porites genus), salinity does not influence the Sr/Ca thermometer. In this study, we test the salinity effect on Porites Sr/Ca-based SST reconstructions at monthly and interannual timescales in open-ocean environmental conditions. We use a large spatial compilation of published Porites data from the Red Sea and Pacific and Indian oceans. Additionally to those published records, we add a new eastern Pacific coral Sr/Ca record from Clipperton Atoll.
Using two different salinity products (Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) SSS reanalyses version 2.2.4, Carton and Giese, 2008; and instrumental SSS from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France (IRD) Delcroix et al., 2011), we find no evidence of salinity bias on the Sr/Ca SST proxy at monthly and interannual timescales. We conclude that Porites Sr/Ca is a reliable palaeothermometer that is not influenced by salinity variability.