Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2023-89
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2023-89
14 Nov 2023
 | 14 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Response of Coastal California Hydroclimate to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Xiaodong Zhang, Brett J. Tipple, Jiang Zhu, William D. Rush, Christian A. Shields, Joseph B. Novak, and James C. Zachos

Abstract. The effects of anthropogenic warming on the hydroclimate of California are becoming more pronounced, with increased frequency of multi-year droughts and flooding. As a past analog for the future, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is a unique natural experiment for assessing global and regional hydroclimate sensitivity to greenhouse gas warming. Globally, extensive evidence (i.e., observations, climate models with high pCO2) demonstrates hydrological intensification with significant variability from region to region (i.e., dryer or wetter, or greater frequency and/or intensity of extreme events). Central California (paleolatitude ~42° N), roughly at the boundary between dry subtropical highs and mid-latitude low pressure systems, would have been particularly susceptible to shifts in atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns/intensity. Here, we present new observations and climate model output on regional/local hydroclimate responses in central California during PETM. Our findings based on multi-proxy evidence within the context of model output suggest a transition to an overall drier climate punctuated by increased precipitation during summer months along the central coastal California during the PETM.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Xiaodong Zhang, Brett J. Tipple, Jiang Zhu, William D. Rush, Christian A. Shields, Joseph B. Novak, and James C. Zachos

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Xiaodong Zhang, Brett J. Tipple, Jiang Zhu, William D. Rush, Christian A. Shields, Joseph B. Novak, and James C. Zachos
Xiaodong Zhang, Brett J. Tipple, Jiang Zhu, William D. Rush, Christian A. Shields, Joseph B. Novak, and James C. Zachos

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Short summary
This study is motivated by the current anthropogenic warming forced transition in regional hydroclimate. We use observations and model simulations during PETM, an anomalous greenhouse global warming event in the past, to constrain regional/local hydroclimate response. Our findings based on multi-proxy evidence within the context of model output suggest a transition to an overall drier climate punctuated by increased precipitation during summer in coastal California during the PETM.