Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 23–29

Influence of seawater Sr content on coral Sr/Ca and Sr thermometry


  • Y. Sun
    • Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong Kong
    • Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong Kong
  • T. Lee
    • Institute of Earth SciencesAcademia Sinica
  • B. Nie
    • South China Sea Institute of OceanographyChinese Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-004-0467-x

Cite this article as:
Sun, Y., Sun, M., Lee, T. et al. Coral Reefs (2005) 24: 23. doi:10.1007/s00338-004-0467-x


The Ca content of a Porites coral from Xisha, South China Sea is quite uniform along its 18-year growth axis. A comparison with previously published data shows that the Ca content of corals from different sites varies by only 0.4%. This is much smaller than the variation of Ca in seawater (2.2%), indicating that Ca variations in seawater do not significantly affect the Ca compositions of coral skeletons. The variation in skeletal Ca contents results in only ±0.6°C of uncertainty in SST calculations, which is much smaller than the large disparities observed for previously established coral Sr/Ca thermometers. In contrast, Sr in tropical seawater varies spatially by as much as 2.4%, corresponding to ~4°C offset for coral Sr/Ca calibrations. The effect of seawater Sr variations on coral Sr/Ca thermometers is evaluated and we demonstrate that the content of seawater Sr is the major factor responsible for disparities in these coral Sr/Ca thermometers. The disparities can be significantly reduced when seawater Sr contents are included in the Sr/Ca thermometers.


CoralSr/Ca thermometrySea-surface temperatureCoral Ca contentSeawater Sr concentration

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© Springer-Verlag 2005