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Luminescence Intensity in Coral Skeletons from Mona Island in the Caribbean Sea and Its Link to Precipitation and Wind Speed

Johan Nyberg
Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Vol. 360, No. 1793, Understanding Climate Change: Proxies, Chronology and Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions (Apr. 15, 2002), pp. 749-766
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3066470
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Luminescence Intensity in Coral Skeletons from Mona Island in the Caribbean Sea and Its Link to Precipitation and Wind Speed
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Abstract

This study investigates the potential of using changes of interannual luminescence intensity in hermatypic Montastraea coral skeletons in the northeastern Caribbean as a proxy of precipitation and (trade) wind speed. In order to find wavelength pairs that are well suited to detect variations in the concentration of incorporated terrestrial humic substances in coral skeletons, and thus to reconstruct past run-off and rainfall, three-dimensional excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectra of seawater samples were investigated on their relationships to local precipitation. Three prominent excitation-emission peaks at 310/430, 425/480 and 390/530 nm were identified. The fluorescence intensities of the wavelength pair 310/430 nm showed a weak relationship, while the wavelength pairs at 425/480 and 390/530 nm showed strong relationships with local precipitation. Variations in luminescence intensities from scans on the coral surface along the growth axis using the wavelengths identified were then compared with instrumental records of regional precipitation and wind speed. In the coral skeleton as well, the wavelength pairs at 425/480 and 390/530 nm were more strongly correlated with regional precipitation and wind speed. This indicates that these two wavelength pairs are well suited to reconstruct past precipitation and wind speed. In order to evaluate the use as a proxy of trade wind variability in the Caribbean, tropical Atlantic region, variations in luminescence intensity were compared with a record of trade wind variability from the southern Caribbean. The two records are strongly correlated, which suggests that luminescence intensity in coral skeletons, at least from Mona Island, can be used as proxy of trade wind variability and precipitation.

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