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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-13
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Mar 2018

Research article | 02 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Sedproxy: a forward model for sediment archived climate proxies

Andrew M. Dolman and Thomas Laepple Andrew M. Dolman and Thomas Laepple
  • Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

Abstract. Climate reconstructions based on proxy records recovered from marine sediments, such as alkenone records or geochemical parameters measured on foraminifera, play an important role in our understanding of the climate system. They provide information about the state of the ocean ranging back hundreds to millions of years and form the backbone of paleo-oceanography.

However, there are many sources of uncertainty associated with the signal recovered from sediment archived proxies. These include seasonal or depth habitat biases in the recorded signal, a frequency dependent reduction in the amplitude of the recorded signal due to bioturbation of the sediment, aliasing of high frequency climate variation onto a nominally annual, decadal or centennial resolution signal, and additional sample processing and measurement error introduced when the proxy signal is recovered.

Here we present a forward model for sediment archived proxies that jointly models the above processes, so that the magnitude of their separate and combined effects can be investigated.

Applications include the interpretation and analysis of uncertainty in existing proxy records, parameter sensitivity analysis to optimize future studies, and the generation of pseudo-proxy records that can be used to test reconstruction methods. We provide examples, such as the simulation of individual foraminifera records, that demonstrate the usefulness of the forward model for paleoclimate studies. The model is implemented as a user-friendly R package, sedproxy, the use of which we hope will contribute to a better understanding of both the limitations and potential of marine sediment proxies to inform about past climate.

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Andrew M. Dolman and Thomas Laepple
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Andrew M. Dolman and Thomas Laepple
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Latest update: 25 Sep 2018
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Climate proxies from marine sediments provide an important record of past temperatures, but contain noise from many sources. These include mixing by burrowing organisms, seasonal and habitat biases, measurement error and small sample size effects. We have created a forward model that simulates the creation of proxy records and provide it as a user-friendly R package. It allows multiple sources of uncertainty to be considered together when interpreting proxy climate records.
Climate proxies from marine sediments provide an important record of past temperatures, but...
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