Planktonic foraminifera as recorders of sea surface hydrography in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific (Gulf of Tehuantepec, MX)

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kelly Gibson1, Robert Thunell1, Maria L Machain-Castillo2, Kate Wejnert3, Xinantecatl A Nava-Fernández2, Alejandro Rodriguez-Ramírez2 and Eric Tappa1, (1)University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, United States, (2)UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, (3)Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, GA, United States
The Gulf of Tehuanetpec (GoT) (14°-16°N and 92°-96°W) is located in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific, a region that is sensitive to changes in both Atlantic-Pacific water vapor transport as well as changes in ENSO. Within the ETNP, the GoT is unique in that it experiences significant changes in temperature (ΔT = 8-10°C) and salinity (ΔS = 3) associated with seasonal variations in precipitation and wind-driven upwelling. Establishing robust relationships between δ18O and Mg/Ca of foraminiferal calcite to sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) in this region can then be used to study past changes in Atl-Pac water vapor transport and ENSO and how these relate to regional and global climate change. We present here a six year (2006-2012), weekly to biweekly resolved record of paired δ18O-Mg/Ca analyses of the planktonic foraminfer Globigerina bulloides, collected from a sediment trap mooring in the GoT (15° 38.826N, 95° 16.905 W).

The G. bulloides δ18O values ranges from -0.14‰ to – 3.98‰, equivalent to ~16°C temperature, or nearly twice the observed instrumental change in SST. To help constrain the temperature influence on the δ18Ocalcite signal, Mg/Ca values were converted to temperature using previously published equations for G. bulloides. In addition, we calculated new equations using the Mg/Ca and satellite SST data. Depending on the calibration equation used, G. bulloides from the GoT show a ~5-8% change in Mg/Ca with temperature, and show generally good agreement with SST, particularly in winter upwelling months. The agreement between SST and Mg/Ca-based temperatures is less robust during the winter months of 2009, when a moderate El Niño year resulted in warmer and fresher surface conditions in the GoT than pervious and following years, indicating a deeper habitat depth for G. bulloides and perhaps reduced upwelling during El Niño conditions.