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SURFACE OCEAN RADIOCARBON FROM A PORITES CORAL RECORD IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: 1945–2017

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2021

Yang Wu*
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Sciences, the Australian National University, Mills Road, Canberra, ACT2601, Australia
Stewart J Fallon
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Sciences, the Australian National University, Mills Road, Canberra, ACT2601, Australia
Neal E Cantin
Affiliation:
Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No 3, Townsville MC, Qld4810, Australia
Janice M Lough
Affiliation:
Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No 3, Townsville MC, Qld4810, Australia
*
*Corresponding author. Email: yang.wu@anu.edu.au.

Abstract

We present a high-resolution seawater radiocarbon (Δ14C) record from a Porites coral collected from Masthead Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) covering the years 1945–2017. The Δ14C values from 1945–1953 (pre-bomb era) averaged –49‰. As a result of bomb-produced 14C in the atmosphere, Δ14C values started to rise rapidly from 1959, levelled off at ∼131‰ in the late 1970s and gradually decreased to ∼40.3‰ by 2017 due to the decrease in the air-sea 14C gradient and the overturning of the 14C ocean reservoir (i.e., surface ocean to subsurface ocean; atmosphere to surface ocean). The Masthead Island record is in agreement with previous 14C coral records from the southern GBR. A comparison between surface ocean and atmospheric Δ14C suggests that, since 2010, the main reservoir of bomb-derived 14C has shifted from the atmosphere to the surface ocean, potentially resulting in reversed 14C flux in regions where the CO2 gradient is favorable. The high-resolution Masthead coral Δ14C sheds light on long-term variability in air-sea exchange and GBR regional ocean dynamics associated with climate change and in conjunction with the previous records provides a robust seawater 14C reference series to date other carbonate samples.

Type
Conference Paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press for the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona

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Footnotes

Selected Papers from the 1st Latin American Radiocarbon Conference, Rio de Janeiro, 29 Jul.–2 Aug. 2019

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SURFACE OCEAN RADIOCARBON FROM A PORITES CORAL RECORD IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: 1945–2017
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