Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Clim. Past, 7, 1337–1349, 2011
Clim. Past, 7, 1337–1349, 2011

Research article 08 Dec 2011

Research article | 08 Dec 2011

Quantifying sea surface temperature ranges of the Arabian Sea for the past 20 000 years

G. M. Ganssen1, F. J. C. Peeters1, B. Metcalfe1, P. Anand2, S. J. A. Jung3, D. Kroon3, and G.-J. A. Brummer4 G. M. Ganssen et al.
  • 1Section Marine Biogeology, Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Earth- and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, de Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
  • 3School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 4Royal NIOZ, Landsdiep 4, 1797 SZ't Horntje, Texel, The Netherlands

Abstract. The oxygen isotopic composition of planktonic foraminifera tests is one of the widest used geochemical tools to reconstruct past changes of physical parameters of the upper ocean. It is common practice to analyze multiple individuals from a mono-specific population and assume that the outcome reflects a mean value of the environmental conditions during calcification of the analyzed individuals. Here we present the oxygen isotope composition of individual specimens of the surface-dwelling species Globigerinoides ruber and Globigerina bulloides from sediment cores in the Western Arabian Sea off Somalia, inferred as indicators of past seasonal ranges in temperature. Combining the δ18O measurements of individual specimens to obtain temperature ranges with Mg/Ca based mean calcification temperatures allows us to reconstruct temperature extrema. Our results indicate that over the past 20 kyr the seasonal temperature range has fluctuated from its present value of 16 °C to mean values of 13 °C and 11 °C for the Holocene and LGM, respectively. The data for the LGM suggest that the maximum temperature was lower, whilst minimum temperature remained approximately constant. The rather minor variability in lowest summer temperatures during the LGM suggests roughly constant summer monsoon intensity, while upwelling-induced productivity was lowered.