Although commonly reported in marine and freshwater environments, little is known about the biological sources of long chain alkyl 1,13- and 1,15-diols, and factors controlling their distributions. Here we analyzed the occurrence and distribution of these lipids in a comprehensive set of marine surface sediments and compare their distributions with environmental conditions like sea surface temperature (SST), salinity and nutrient concentrations. Fractional abundances of the C28 1,13-, C30 1,13- and C30 1,15-diols show a strong correlation with SST and based on these results, we propose the Long chain Diol Index (LDI), which expresses the C30 1,15-diol abundance relative to those of C28 1,13-, C30 1,13- and C30 1,15-diols. The LDI shows a strong linear correlation with SST (LDI = 0.033 � SST + 0.095; R2 = 0.969, n = 162) over a temperature range of �3 to 27 �C. Long chain diol distributions in sediments from the South Atlantic close to the Congo River outflow (West Africa) provided a 43 kyr LDI SST record. This record reflects several known climatic events and shows similarities with an alkenone- derived SST record obtained using the same suite of sediments, both in trend and in terms of absolute SST. This confirms the potential of the LDI as a proxy for palaeo-SST reconstruction.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geochemistry