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Red Sea

A major research effort has focused on the Red Sea, including seven field expeditions to map and drill long cores from massive coral colonies. Calibrations of Sr/Ca to SST using six corals across 10 degrees of latitude show very strong correlations at monthly to interannual time scales, providing a robust equation for application to modern as well as fossil cores at different locations (Murty, B.A. honors thesis, 2012). SST reconstructed at biweekly resolution over the past 250 years from Sr/Ca in two coral cores shows changes in the winter SST gradient, with cooling in the central Red Sea and warming in the north (Hughen et al., in prep), as well as strong multidecadal correlations to the NAO (Hughen, in prep). An investigation of Ba/Ca in two corals from the central and southern Red Sea reveals multidecadal-to-centennial scale dust input reflecting the intensity of the SW Asian summer monsoon (Bryan et al., submitted).

Coring a massive Porites lobata colony at Coral Gardens, Red Sea

Relevant Publications

  • Murty, S.A., Centennial-scale climate variability from spatial SST gradients in Red Sea corals, Honors Thesis in Geology, Oberlin College, 2012.
  • Bryan, S.P., Hughen, K.A., Karnauskas, K.B., Farrar, J.T., Increased Southwest Asian Summer Monsoon intensity and decreased variability over the past 250 years, Science (submitted).
  • Hughen, K.A., Farrar, J.T., Karnauskas, K.B., Hoteit, I., Yao, F., Murty, S.A., Winter SST gradient and meridional wind intensity in the Red Sea linked to the Siberian High, (in preparation).
  • Hughen, K.A., NAO variability over two and a half centuries from Red Sea corals, (in preparation).
  • Murty, S.A., Hughen, K.A., Bernstein, W., Davis, R. and Ossolinski, J., A high-resolution, multiple-coral calibration of Sr/Ca to sea surface temperature from Red Sea corals, (in preparation).

Funding provided by:

NSF OCE (P2C2), KAUST, WHOI Internal awards and Academic Programs



  • Sean Bryan - Colorado State U, Fort Collins, CO
  • Kris Karnauskas – U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO
  • Tom Farrar – PO, WHOI
  • Sujata Murty - EOS, NTU Singapore