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AGU: Geophysical Research Letters



  • East Asian Monsoon
  • Kuroshio Current
  • Late Holocene climate
  • Okinawa Trough
  • TEX86
  • sea surface temperature

Index Terms

  • 1616 - Climate variability
  • 1635 - Oceans
  • 3305 - Climate change and variability

Paper in Press


Sea surface temperature variability in southern Okinawa Trough during last 2700 years

Key Points
  • The 20th century warming in SOT is still within variability of late Holocene
  • A strong coupling of KC, EAM and ENSO exists in late Holocene
  • MWP has a mean SST lower than RWP and STWP in Okinawa Trough


Weichao Wu

Wenbing Tan

Liping Zhou

Huan Yang

Yunping Xu

Most of the temperature reconstructions for the past two millennia are based on proxy data from various sites on land. Here we present a bidecadal resolution record of sea surface temperature (SST) in Southern Okinawa Trough for the past ca. 2700 years by analyzing tetraether lipids of planktonic archaea in the ODP Hole 1202B, a site under the strong influence of Kuroshio Current and East Asian monsoon. The reconstructed SST anomalies generally coincided with previously reported late Holocene climate events, including the Roman Warm Period, Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period, Current Warm Period, Dark Age Cold Period and Little Ice Age. However, the Medieval Warm Period usually thought to be a historical analogue for the Current Warm Period has a mean SST of 0.6-0.8 {degree sign}C lower than that of the Roman Warm Period and Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period. Despite an increase since 1850 AD, the mean SST in the 20th century is still within the range of natural variability during the past 2700 years. A close correlation of SST in Southern Okinawa Trough with air temperature in East China, intensity of East Asian monsoon and the El-Niño Southern Oscillation index has been attributed to the fluctuations in solar output and oceanic-atmospheric circulation.

Received 15 June 2012; accepted 15 June 2012.

Citation: Wu, W., W. Tan, L. Zhou, H. Yang, and Y. Xu (2012), Sea surface temperature variability in southern Okinawa Trough during last 2700 years, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052749, in press.