Global temperature calibration of the Long chain Diol Index in marine surface sediments

Marijke W. de Bar*, Gabriella Weiss, Caglar Yildiz, Sebastiaan W. Rampen, Julie Lattaud, Nicole J. Bale, Furu Mienis, Geert Jan A. Brummer, Hartmut Schulz, Darci Rush, Jung Hyun Kim, Barbara Donner, Jochen Knies, Andreas Lückge, Jan Berend W. Stuut, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté, Stefan Schouten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Long chain Diol Index (LDI) is a relatively new organic geochemical proxy for sea surface temperature (SST), based on the abundance of the C30 1,15-diol relative to the summed abundance of the C28 1,13-, C30 1,13- and C30 1,15-diols. Here we substantially extend and re-evaluate the initial core top calibration by combining the original dataset with 172 data points derived from previously published studies and 262 newly generated data points. In total, we considered 595 globally distributed surface sediments with an enhanced geographical coverage compared to the original calibration. The relationship with SST is similar to that of the original calibration but with considerably increased scatter. The effects of freshwater input (e.g., river runoff) and long-chain diol contribution from Proboscia diatoms on the LDI were evaluated. Exclusion of core-tops deposited at a salinity < 32 ppt, as well as core-tops with high Proboscia-derived C28 1,12-diol abundance, resulted in a substantial improvement of the relationship between LDI and annual mean SST. This implies that the LDI cannot be directly applied in regions with a strong freshwater influence or high C28 1,12-diol abundance, limiting the applicability of the LDI. The final LDI calibration (LDI = 0.0325 × SST + 0.1082; R2 = 0.88; n = 514) is not statistically different from the original calibration of Rampen et al. (2012) (, although with a larger calibration error of 3 °C. This larger calibration error results from several regions where the LDI does not seem to have a strong temperature dependence with annual mean SST, posing a limitation on the application of the LDI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103983
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Early online date7 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


We thank Andy Revill, Liz Sikes, John Volkman and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments which improved the manuscript. We are grateful to various people who have worked-up or provided core-top sediments: Tjerk Veenstra, and Steven D’Hondt for Pacific core-tops recovered during the R/V Knorr expedition 195-3 ( US National Science Foundation grant OCE-0752336 ), Isla Castañeda (Mozambique Channel), Ivan Tomberg and Roselyne Buscail (Gulf of Lion), Claudia Zell and David Hollander (Amazon Basin), Kees Booij (Berau Delta), Cindy de Jonge, Alina Stadnitskaia and Georgy Cherkashov (Kara Sea), Li Lo (Okhotsk Sea), Marcel van der Meer (Mediterranean), Laura Villanueva (Black Sea) and Zeynep Erdem (Chilean margin). We thank Allert Bijleveld for statistical advice. This research has been funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European 555 Union’s Seventh Framework Program ( FP7/2007-2013 ) ERC grant agreement [ 339206 ] to S.S. Both S.S. and J.S.S.D. receive funding from the Netherlands Earth System Science Center (NESSC) through a Gravitation grant from the Dutch ministry for Education, Culture and Science (grant number 024.002.001 ).

FundersFunder number
Dutch Ministry for Education, Culture and Science024.002.001
Isla Castañeda
Ivan Tomberg and Roselyne Buscail
John Volkman
Kees Booij
Laura Villanueva
Liz Sikes
National Science FoundationOCE-0752336
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme694569, 339206
Seventh Framework Programme
European Research Council
Seventh Framework Programme
Netherlands Earth System Science Centre


    • Freshwater
    • LDI core-top calibration
    • Long-chain diols
    • Proboscia diatoms
    • SST


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