Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 10, 2237-2252, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Dec 2014
Implication of methodological uncertainties for mid-Holocene sea surface temperature reconstructions
I. Hessler1,2, S. P. Harrison1,3, M. Kucera2, C. Waelbroeck4, M.-T. Chen5, C. Anderson6, A. de Vernal7, B. Fréchette7, A. Cloke-Hayes8, G. Leduc9,10, and L. Londeix11 1Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia
2MARUM-Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
3Centre for Past Climate Change and School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences (SAGES), University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK
4Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire CNRS-CEA- UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
5Institute of Applied Geosciences, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan
6Uni Climate, Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
7GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada
8Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
9Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel, Marine Climate Research, Kiel, Germany
10CEREGE, UMR7330, Aix-en-Provence, France
11Université de Bordeaux, UMR `EPOC' CNRS, Talence, France
Abstract. We present and examine a multi-sensor global compilation of mid-Holocene (MH) sea surface temperatures (SST), based on Mg/Ca and alkenone palaeothermometry and reconstructions obtained using planktonic foraminifera and organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst census counts. We assess the uncertainties originating from using different methodologies and evaluate the potential of MH SST reconstructions as a benchmark for climate-model simulations. The comparison between different analytical approaches (time frame, baseline climate) shows the choice of time window for the MH has a negligible effect on the reconstructed SST pattern, but the choice of baseline climate affects both the magnitude and spatial pattern of the reconstructed SSTs. Comparison of the SST reconstructions made using different sensors shows significant discrepancies at a regional scale, with uncertainties often exceeding the reconstructed SST anomaly. Apparent patterns in SST may largely be a reflection of the use of different sensors in different regions. Overall, the uncertainties associated with the SST reconstructions are generally larger than the MH anomalies. Thus, the SST data currently available cannot serve as a target for benchmarking model simulations. Further evaluations of potential subsurface and/or seasonal artifacts that may contribute to obscure the MH SST reconstructions are urgently needed to provide reliable benchmarks for model evaluations.

Citation: Hessler, I., Harrison, S. P., Kucera, M., Waelbroeck, C., Chen, M.-T., Anderson, C., de Vernal, A., Fréchette, B., Cloke-Hayes, A., Leduc, G., and Londeix, L.: Implication of methodological uncertainties for mid-Holocene sea surface temperature reconstructions, Clim. Past, 10, 2237-2252,, 2014.
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