High Atlantic native Saenger

Core/Site name:

Gingerbreads, Great Bahama Bank








Siderastrea siderea

Proxy measurement:

extension rate (cm/yr)

Sampling resolution:


Climate sensitivity:


Dating resolution:


Dating information:



1991 AD


1552 AD

All uncertainties:

age model +/- 1 year


DESCRIPTION: A low-latitude western Atlantic reconstruction of SST since 1552 derived from annual growth variations in the coral Siderastrea siderea sampled at Gingerbreads Reef, Bahamas. ABSTRACT:Sea surface temperature variability in the North Atlantic Ocean recorded since about 1850 has been ascribed to a natural multidecadal oscillation superimposed on a background warming trend. It has been suggested that the multidecadal variability may be a persistent feature, raising the possibility that the associated climate impacts may be predictable. However, our understanding of the multidecadal ocean variability before the instrumental record is based on interpretations of high-latitude terrestrial proxy records. Here we present an absolutely dated and annually resolved record of sea surface temperature from the Bahamas, based on a 440-year time series of coral growth rates. The reconstruction indicates that temperatures were as warm as today from about 1552 to 1570, then cooled by about 1°C from 1650 to 1730 before warming until the present. Our estimates of background variability suggest that much of the warming since 1900 was driven by anthropogenic forcing. Interdecadal variability with a period of 15-25 years is superimposed on most of the record, but multidecadal variability becomes significant only after 1730. We conclude that the multidecadal variability in sea surface temperatures in the low-latitude western Atlantic Ocean may not be persistent, potentially making accurate decadal climate forecasts more difficult to achieve.

Data entered by name:

Saenger, Casey

Data entered by email:

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Main reference(s):

Saenger, C., A.L. Cohen, D.W. Oppo, R.B. Halley, and J.E. Carilli. 2009. Surface-temperature trends and variability in the low-latitude North Atlantic since 1552. Nature Geoscience. Published Online 21 June 2009. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO552

Link to reference 1:


Data storage link 1:


Current dating method:

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Annual snow acc rate:

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Category: Ocean2k