Continued Global Warming is Expected to Result in Reduced Precipitation and a Drier Climate in Central America. Projections of Future Changes Are Highly Uncertain, However, Due to the Spatial Resolution Limitations of Models and Insufficient Observational Data Coverage Across Space and Time. Paleoclimate Proxy Data Are Therefore Critical for Understanding Regional Climate Responses during Times of Global Climate Reorganization. Here We Present Two Lake-Sediment based Records of Precipitation Variability in Guatemala Along with a Synthesis of Central American Hydroclimate Records Spanning the Last Millennium (800–2000 CE). the Synthesis Reveals that Regional Climate Changes Have Been Strikingly Heterogeneous, even over Relatively Short Distances. Our Analysis Further Suggests that Shifts in the Mean Position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, Which Have Been Invoked by Numerous Studies to Explain Variability in Central American and Circum-Caribbean Proxy Records, Cannot Alone Explain the Observed Pattern of Hydroclimate Variability. Instead, Interactions between Several Ocean-Atmosphere Processes and their Disparate Influences Across Variable Topography Appear to Have Resulted in Complex Precipitation Responses. These Complexities Highlight the Difficulty of Reconstructing Past Precipitation Changes Across Central America and Point to the Need for Additional Paleo-Record Development and Analysis Before the Relationships between External Forcing and Hydroclimate Change Can Be Robustly Determined. Such Efforts Should Help Anchor Model-Based Predictions of Future Responses to Continued Global Warming.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


National Science Foundation, Grant EAR‐1502740

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2572-4525; 2572-4517

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 American Geophysical Union; Wiley, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2023