Precipitation in Northeast Mexico Primarily Controlled by the Relative Warming of Atlantic SSTs

Kevin T. Wright, Kathleen R. Johnson, Tripti Bhattacharya, Gabriela Serrato Marks, David McGee, Dillon Elsbury, Yannick Peings, Jean Louis Lacaille-Muzquiz, Gianna Lum, Laura Beramendi-Orosco, Gudrun Magnusdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Reconstructing hydroclimate over the Common Era is essential for understanding the dominant mechanisms of precipitation change and improving climate model projections, which currently suggest Northeast Mexico will become drier in the future. Tree-ring reconstructions have suggested regional rainfall is primarily controlled by Pacific sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). However, tree ring records tend to reflect winter-spring rainfall, and thus may not accurately record total annual precipitation. Using the first multiproxy speleothem record spanning the last millennium, combined with results from an atmospheric general circulation model, we demonstrate mean annual rainfall in Northeast Mexico is highly sensitive to Atlantic SST variability. Our findings suggest future precipitation in Northeast Mexico is more dependent upon the warming of Tropical Atlantic SSTs relative to the Tropical Pacific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL098186
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2022


  • Common Era
  • Mexico
  • paleoclimate
  • precipitation
  • speleothem
  • stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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