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Sea-surface temperature evolution mapping project based on UK37 str atigraphy


This proposal concerns the use of molecular organic geochemistry (the UK37 index) to reconstruct past sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). The index has been proven as an important proxy for SST, providing data which have been widely employed in palaeoclimatic studies and models. However, to date there has been little effort to standardise the measurement and interpretation of this parameter, complicating the integration of individual data groups into large data sets suitable for climatic models.

The proposed workplan will, for the first time, co-ordinate the individual efforts of existing palaeoceanographic research groups in developing a policy for the measurement and interpretation of this important SST proxy. The refined and intercalibrated techniques will then be applied to an extensive suite of sediment cores to reconstruct SST maps for key palaeoclimatic intervals in the marine realm around Europe. The results will comprise an important data set likely to have significant implications for our understanding of sea surface temperature evolution.

Our primary objective is to reconstruct SST maps in the Eastern Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea for the following time-slices or periods of importance in the palaeoclimatic record:

- Middle Holocene climatic optimum
- Termination Ib
- Younger Dryas End of Termination Ia
- Last glacial maximum
- Early isotopic stage 2
- Eemian interglacial period: Isotopic stage 5e

These maps will comprise an important data resource for the validation of the CLIMAP data which are currently widely employed in climatic models. The advances they will bring are two-fold: (1) they will be constructed using a SST proxy which was not available for the CLIMAP project, and (2) they will cover additional periods of the climatic record.

The success of the project relies on the definition and agreement of the basic rules for the widespread application of UK37 as a reliable quantitative palaeotemperature indicator. To achieve this the following objectives will be pursued:

- Definition of analytical methodology to obtain accurate and comparable UK3, data between laboratories.
- Definition of optimum SST calibration from UK37 values, considering: - Which is the most appropriate calibration equation to convert UK3, values to SSTs?
- How do individual SST values relate to annual seasons and water column depth?

We aim to deliver:

(1) A set of SST maps for marine regions marginal or proximal to Europe. The data will be made available to the palaeoclimatic community for modelling the climate system.
(2) Comprehensive guidelines for the measurement and interpretation of the UK3, SST proxy, which will be disseminated through the scientific community through publications and a workshop.

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