11 Oct 2022
 | 11 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Technical note: A new online tool for δ18O-temperature conversions

Daniel E. Gaskell and Pincelli M. Hull

Abstract. The stable oxygen isotopic composition of marine carbonates (δ18Oc) is one of the oldest and most widely-used paleothermometers, but interpretation of these data is complicated by the necessity of knowing the δ18O of the source seawater (δ18Ow). The effect of local hydrography (the salinity effect) is particularly difficult to correct for and may lead to errors of >10°C in sea-surface temperatures if neglected. A variety of methods for calculating δ18Ow have been developed in the literature, but not all are readily accessible to workers. Likewise, temperature estimates are sensitive to a range of other calibration choices (such as calibration species and the inclusion or exclusion of carbonate ion effects) which can require significant effort to intercompare. We present an online tool for δ18O-temperature conversions which provides convenient access to a wide range of calibrations and methods from the literature. Using results from recent isotope-enabled climate simulations, we show that the common method of estimating δ18Ow from sample latitudes likely results in paleotemperature estimates that are too cold by up to 5 °C in the North Atlantic and too hot by up to 5°C in the Southern Ocean during the warmest climate states. Our tool provides a convenient way for workers to examine the effects of alternate calibration and correction procedures on their δ18O-based temperature estimates.

Daniel E. Gaskell and Pincelli M. Hull

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2022-74', Brett Metcalfe, 01 Dec 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Daniel Gaskell, 07 Feb 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2022-74', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Jan 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Daniel Gaskell, 07 Feb 2023

Daniel E. Gaskell and Pincelli M. Hull

Model code and software

Source code for converter tool Daniel E. Gaskell, Pincelli M. Hull

Daniel E. Gaskell and Pincelli M. Hull


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Short summary
One of the most common ways of reconstructing temperatures in the geologic past is by analyzing oxygen isotope ratios in fossil shells. However, converting these data to temperatures can be a technically complicated task. Here, we present a new online tool that automates this task. We show that some traditional methods for estimating seawater oxygen isotopes can produce large (>5 °C) errors in temperature estimates compared to newer methods which account for climate and regional variability.