Coral record of southeast Indian Ocean marine heatwaves with intensified Western Pacific temperature gradient

Zinke, J., Hoell, A., Lough, J.M., Feng, M., Kuret, A.J., Clarke, H., Ricca, V., Rankenburg, K., and McCulloch, M.T. (2015) Coral record of southeast Indian Ocean marine heatwaves with intensified Western Pacific temperature gradient. Nature Communications, 6. 8562.

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Abstract

Increasing intensity of marine heatwaves has caused widespread mass coral bleaching events, threatening the integrity and functional diversity of coral reefs. Here we demonstrate the role of inter-ocean coupling in amplifying thermal stress on reefs in the poorly studied southeast Indian Ocean (SEIO), through a robust 215-year (1795–2010) geochemical coral proxy sea surface temperature (SST) record. We show that marine heatwaves affecting the SEIO are linked to the behaviour of the Western Pacific Warm Pool on decadal to centennial timescales, and are most pronounced when an anomalously strong zonal SST gradient between the western and central Pacific co-occurs with strong La Niña's. This SST gradient forces large-scale changes in heat flux that exacerbate SEIO heatwaves. Better understanding of the zonal SST gradient in the Western Pacific is expected to improve projections of the frequency of extreme SEIO heatwaves and their ecological impacts on the important coral reef ecosystems off Western Australia.

Item ID: 44355
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license,users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material.

Funders: Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre, University of Witwatersrand, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Australian Climate Change Science Program, Western Australia Marine Science Institute, Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits Scheme, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Western Australian Premier's Department, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC 10010020
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 06:41
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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