Western Mediterranean Sea Paleothermometry Over the Last Glacial Cycle Based on the Novel RI-OH Index

Nina Davtian*, Guillemette Ménot, Yoann Fagault, Edouard Bard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


RI-OH (ring index of hydroxylated tetraethers) has recently been proposed to reconstruct paleotemperatures in middle- to low-latitude marginal seas. However, RI-OH has barely been tested in marginal seas under substantial terrigenous inputs. Here we analyze tetraether lipids in two adjacent marine cores from the Gulf of Lions. We then test for the first time the RI-OH paleothermometer from 160 to 9 ka BP in the western Mediterranean Sea. While terrigenous inputs prevent TEX86 (TetraEther indeX of tetraethers consisting of 86 carbon atoms) from behaving as a paleothermometer, RI-OH is generally consistent with other paleothermometric proxies. RI-OH also responds systematically and coherently to glacial-interglacial transitions as well as to abrupt climatic events. The average difference between RI-OH temperatures and November–May UK′37 (C37 ketone unsaturation ratio) temperatures is −2.0 °C with a standard error of 0.4 °C based on 249 RI-OH-UK′37 comparisons. This systematic difference suggests that hydroxylated tetraethers and alkenones record different temperatures, for instance, winter and/or subsurface temperatures for RI-OH. Another source of bias could be linked to the available RI-OH-temperature calibration, which clearly needs more work at the global and regional scales, notably for semienclosed basins such as the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, our RI-OH-based interglacial-glacial anomalies are of 10 °C, a value within the high end of anomalies from previously published temperature records in the western Mediterranean Sea (from 3 to 13 °C). The RI-OH-based temperature anomalies also confirm the regional differences and seasonal contrasts in interglacial-glacial anomalies produced by models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-634
Number of pages19
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • GDGTs
  • glacial-interglacial transitions
  • RI-OH
  • sea surface temperature
  • TEX
  • western Mediterranean Sea


Dive into the research topics of 'Western Mediterranean Sea Paleothermometry Over the Last Glacial Cycle Based on the Novel RI-OH Index'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this