As part of the Multi-proxy Approach for the Reconstruction of the Glacial Ocean (MARGO) incentive, published and unpublished temperature reconstructions for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) based on planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca ratios have been synthesised and made available in an online database. Development and applications of Mg/Ca thermometry are described in order to illustrate the current state of the method. Various attempts to calibrate foraminiferal Mg/Ca ratios with temperature, including culture, trap and core-top approaches have given very consistent results although differences in methodological techniques can produce offsets between laboratories which need to be assessed and accounted for where possible. Dissolution of foraminiferal calcite at the sea-floor generally causes a lowering of Mg/Ca ratios. This effect requires further study in order to account and potentially correct for it if dissolution has occurred. Mg/Ca thermometry has advantages over other paleotemperature proxies including its use to investigate changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater and the ability to reconstruct changes in the thermal structure of the water column by use of multiple species from different depth and or seasonal habitats. Presently available data are somewhat limited to low latitudes where they give fairly consistent values for the temperature difference between Late Holocene and the LGM (2-3.5 degrees C). Data from higher latitudes are more sparse, and suggest there may be complicating factors when comparing between multi-proxy reconstructions. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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