The tropical oceans of the world serve as the heat engine that drives
global atmospheric circulation and influence climate phenomena such as
El Niño and La Niña, which have global and societal impacts.
In order to investigate how tropical oceans vary over time, climate records
such as SST and SSS are needed to constrain tropical variations. In regions
where no instrumental records are available, massive corals serve as proxy
recorders of climate. Massive coral skeletons are composed of CaCO3 and
have annual density bands, similar to tree-rings, and the coral skeletal
geochemistry records variations in SST and SSS. Using geochemical analytical
tools such as Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry and Inductively Coupled
Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES), variations in oxygen isotopes
and trace elemental ratios (Sr/Ca) can be calibrate against instrumental
records to reconstruct SST and SSS variations. Because massive corals
are long-lived and fossil colonies are preserved in the geological record,
Paleoclimatologists can reconstruct past climate on inter-annual to centennial
time scales and address questions concerning ENSO, decadal variability,
cooling during the Little Ice Age, and other climate phenomena.
My research uses an inter-disciplinary approach, combining geology with
chemistry and biology to address questions concerning climate and testing
their results against physical constraints of the ocean-atmosphere system.
Current and past projects include:
• Replication study of coral Sr/Ca records from New Caledonia,
SW Pacific Ocean, for the period 1900 to 1999;
• Reconstructing SST and SSS variations in the SW tropical Pacific
over the past 350 years using coral geochemical records from New Caledonia;
• Investigating SST and SSS variations in the Tahiti, central tropical
Pacific, during the Holocene
• Exploring multi-decadal to centennial scale climatic variations
in paleoclimatology records using time series analysis.
Papers & Presentations
DeLong, K.L., Quinn, T.M., Taylor, F. 2005. Sea Surface Temperature Variability
in the Southwest Tropical Pacific Since1679 AD Derived From Coral Skeletal
Geochemistry. Poster 2005 AGU Fall Meeting. (PDF,
DeLong, K.L., Quinn, T.M., Taylor, F. 2006. Reconstructing 20th Century
SST Variability in the Southwest Pacific: A Replication Study Using Multiple
Coral Sr/Ca Records from New Caledonia. Poster 2006 AGU Fall Meeting.
DeLong, K. L., Quinn, T. M. and Taylor, F. W., 2007, Reconstructing 20th Century SST Variability in the Southwest Pacific: A Replication Study Using Multiple Coral Sr/Ca Records from New Caledonia, Paleoceanography, 22, PA4212, doi:10.1029/2007PA001444. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for electronic password to download a copy from AGU.
DeLong, K.L., Quinn, T.M., Poore, R.Z., and Mitchum, G.T. 2007. Investigating the Forcing and Response in Proxy Records of Multi-Decadal Scale Climate Variability, Poster 2007 AGU Fall Meeting. (PDF, 2.3 MB)
DeLong, K. L., Quinn, T. M. and Taylor, F. W., 1st International Sclerochronology Conference, July 2007 “Reconstructing 20th Century SST Variability in the Southwest Pacific: A Replication Study Using Multiple Coral Sr/Ca Records from New Caledonia” Received Outstanding Student Presenter award.