Submerged Coral Drilling

September 25-27, 2000 – St. Petersburg, Florida
Convener: Terry Quinn


Annually banded massive corals and their associated reefal deposits have some unique attributes that make them exceptional archives of environmental change in the tropics through the Late Quaternary. These include the ability to directly date corals by high-precision, U-series techniques, the proven ability of large corals to yield high-resolution (e.g., ~monthly) multidecadal-to-multicentury long records of past climate variability in the Late Quaternary, and the utility of corals and associated deposits as recorders of past sealevels. Participants in the International Submerged Coral Workshop identified four overarching scientific issues that can be ideally addressed by the drilling of submerged coral reefs:

  1. What is the nature and magnitude of tropical climate change on millennial to interglacial timescales? For example, are there major changes in the tropical hydrological cycle from glacial to interglacial conditions; are there changes in the dynamics of the tropical climate system on millennial timescales, and if so what is their relationship to Heinrich events documented in the high and mid-latitudes?
  2. How do the dominant modes of tropical climate variability respond to changing climatic boundary conditions? For example, what are the sensitivities of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoonal, and interdecadal coupled ocean-atmosphere dynamics to changes in orbital forcing, global and regional temperatures, and sealevels over century to glacial-interglacial timescales?
  3. What is the timing and magnitude of sealevel variations during the Late Quaternary? To what extent does sealevel respond to millennial-scale climate variability?
  4. What is the nature of the radiocarbon timescale between 12 Ka BP to 40 Ka BP, a time when the abundance of fossil trees are insufficient to produce a radiocarbon calibration based on tree rings?

Workshop Report (pdf)

Organizing Committee
Terry Quinn, University of South Florida
Sandy Tudhope, Edinburgh University