St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Sea-surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is an important factor in regional and global climate. Along with the Caribbean Sea, and western tropical North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico is part of the Atlantic Warm Pool, the Atlantic portion of the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool (Fig. 1). The Atlantic Warm Pool is defined by the region covered by water warmer than 28.5ºC and constitutes a large part of the tropical heat engine, supplying moisture to the atmosphere and latent heat to North America as it evolves from early spring to early fall. Climate records from the northern GOM provide information on the magnitude and rate of natural climate variability within the Atlantic Warm Pool, which are critical to understanding natural climate-forcing mechanisms and feedbacks.
Deep-sea sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico provide an archive of climate history with high sedimentation rates that allow for decadalscale resolution. Within the sediments are calcareous microfossils, specifically planktic foraminifers (Fig. 2), that provide a record of ocean conditions, such as temperature and salinity.
We are currently working on a suite of gravity and box cores (Fig. 3) from the northern Gulf of Mexico to reconstruct past natural climate variability over the late Holocene. Analyses include faunal assemblage and elemental and stable isotope measurement of specific species of planktic foraminifers.
Busch, T.E., Flannery, J.A., Richey, J.N., and Stathakopoulos, A., 2015, The Relationship Between the Ratio of Strontium to Calcium and Sea-Surface Temperature in a Modern Porites astreoides Coral: Implications for Using P. astreoides as a Paleoclimate Archive: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1182, 10 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151182.
Flannery, J.A. and Poore, R.Z., 2013, Sr/Ca proxy sea-surface temperature reconstructions from modern and Holocene Montastraea faveolata specimens from the Dry Tortugas National Park, in: Brock, J.C., Barras, J.A., and Williams, S.J. (eds.), Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 63, pp. 20-31, Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208. [http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI63-003.1]
Muslic, Adis, Flannery J.A., Reich, C.D., Umberger, D.K., Smoak, J.M., and Poore, R.Z., 2013, Linear extension rates of massive corals from the Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1121, 22 p. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1121/]
Richey J.N., Hollander, D.J., Flower, B.P., and Eglinton, T.I., 2011, Merging late Holocene Molecular Organic and Foraminiferal-Based Geochemical Records of SST in the Gulf of Mexico: Paleoceanography, doi:10.1029/2010PA002000. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010PA002000]
Richey, J.N., Poore, R.Z., Flower, B.P., Quinn, T.M., and Hollander, D.J., 2009, Regionally coherent Little Ice Age cooling in the Atlantic Warm Pool: Geophysical Research Letters: Geology, v. 36, p. L21703, doi:10.1029/2009GL040445. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL040445]
Poore, R.Z., DeLong, K.L., Richey, J.N., and Quinn, T.M., 2009, Evidence of multidecadal climate variability and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation from a Gulf of Mexico sea-surface temperature-proxy record: Geo-Marine Letters, v. 29, doi:10.1007/s00367-009-0154-6. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00367-009-0154-6]
Richey, J.N., Poore, R.Z., Flower, B.P., and Quinn, T.M., 2007, 1400 yr multiproxy record of climate variability from the northern Gulf of Mexico: Geology, v. 35, p. 423-426. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G23507A.1]
Poore, R.Z., Pavich, M.J., and Grissino-Mayer, H.D., 2005, Record of the North American southwest monsoon from Gulf of Mexico sediment cores: Geology, v. 33, no. 3, p. 209-212, dio:10.1130/G21040.1. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G21040.1]
Poore, R.Z., Quinn, T.M., and Verardo, S., 2004, Century-scale movement of the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone linked to solar variability: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 31, L12214, doi:10.1029/2004GL019940. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004GL019940]
Poore, R.Z., Dowsett, H.J., Verardo, S., and Quinn, T.M., 2003, Millennial- to century-scale variability in Gulf of Mexico Holocene climate records: Paleoceanography, v. 18, no. 2, 1048, doi:10.1029/2002PA000868. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2002PA000868]
Poore, R.Z., Darling, J., Dowsett, H.J., and Wright, L., 2001, Variations in River Flow to the Gulf of Mexico: Implications for Paleoenvironmental Studies of Gulf of Mexico Marine Sediments - U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 218.7 [http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/b2187/]
Poore, R.Z., Dowsett, H.J., 2001, Pleistocene reduction of polar ice caps: Evidence from Cariaco Basin marine sediment: Geology, v. 29, p. 71-74 . [http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/29/1/71-a]
Poore, R.Z., Wright, L.M., 1999, Holocene continental flood events in marine sediments of the Gulf of Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 99-566. [http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/usgspubs/ofr/ofr99566].