We used Sr/Ca and stable isotope data from well dated and preserved corals from the northeastern Caribbean to determine the seasonal environmental conditions for four continuous years during the Eemian, the last time the Earth was in a prolonged warm phase. We determined that the seasonal range in SST during the Eemian was 25??-30?? C. This is ???1-2?? larger than at present and caused primarily by winter cooling and, only to a small degree, by summer warming. As climate modeling studies indicate, the bias towards colder winters can be explained by changes in low latitude insolation induced by altered orbital parameters, modulated by atmospheric CO2 levels that were lower than today. Milankovitch forcing at higher latitudes was probably less important.
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Orbital control of low-latitude seasonality during the Eemian