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Tropical coral archives – Reconstructions of climate and environment beyond the instrumental record at society-relevant timescales
Convener: Miriam Pfeiffer  | Co-Convener: Caroline Ummenhofer 
 / Wed, 11 Apr, 13:30–17:00
 / Attendance Wed, 11 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Shallow-water coral archives provide precisely-dated annually to monthly-resolved reconstructions of marine climate and environmental change from across the global tropics to subtropics. They are a key archive to constrain past seasonal, interannual and decadal variability – the time scales most relevant to human societies – beyond the start of systematic reef monitoring programs and instrumental observations of climate. Coral reconstructions extending back for centuries provide a link between the observational period and lower-resolution sediment archives. This is of high relevance for comparisons of proxy data with model simulations of reef ecosystem dynamics and global climate. Warming sea surface temperatures are currently the major threat to the future of coral reefs, as seen again following the severe bleaching after the El Nino event in 2015. Hence, coral paleoclimatology is of primary importance not only for understanding climate change but also for ecology. Well-preserved fossil corals provide high-resolution snapshots for time intervals of the Holocene, the last glacial-interglacial cycles, the Miocene and the Pliocene. Coral paleoclimatology provides an opportunity for collaborations among paleoclimatologists, marine geologists, coral reef ecologists, carbonate geochemists, experts in biomineralization, carbonate diagenesis and U-series dating, climate modellers, climate dynamicists, and climate statisticians, in order to provide robust and innovative paleoclimate and environmental reconstructions and interpretations. The aim of this session is to present and discuss latest research on past marine climate and environmental change at society-relevant timescales (seasonal, interannual, decadal), in order to understand the long-term context and impacts of future changes in the tropical to subtropical oceans, reef ecosystems, and adjacent continents. A key challenge is to retain the necessary scientific expertise and leadership to undertake ground-breaking research on past marine climate and environmental change at society-relevant timescales. We strongly encourage PhD students and early career scientists to present their research. This session is related to the PAGES 2k network project CoralHydro2k: Tropical ocean hydroclimate and temperature from coral archives of the last 2 millennia.

Invited speaker: Helen McGregor (University of Wollongong, Australia)