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A Transfer Function for Estimating Paleoceanographic Conditions Based on Deep-Sea Surface Sediment Distribution of Radiolarian Assemblages in the South Atlantic1

  • Joseph J. Morley (a1)


A quantitative analysis of radiolarian species in 57 deep-sea surface sediment samples from the South Atlantic Ocean produced four geographically distinct assemblages (tropical, polar, gyre margin, and subtropical). The distributions of these assemblages or factors coincide with present-day patterns of sea-surface temperatures or water masses.

These four assemblages were used to construct a transfer function relating radiolarian distribution in the surface sediments to present-day winter and summer temperatures using standard regression techniques. As a test of the quality of this transfer function, temperatures were estimated on surface sediment samples from the eastern South Pacific. The temperatures produced by the transfer function compared favorably with the observed (present-day) winter and summer sea-surface temperatures at these sites.



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Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University Contribution No. 2865.



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