Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Collaborative Research: Integrating proxies and Earth System Models to elucidate water cycle dynamics: Did global warming cause an enhanced hydrological cycle in the Eocene?

Funded by the National Science Foundation

Does global warming increase the vigor of the hydrological cycle? This question forms the overall research theme of this study, which investigates the role of hydrological cycle feedbacks in climate change using a combination of proxy reconstructions and Earth System Models. The PIs focus on the early Paleogene, particularly on periods of extreme climate such as the Early and Middle Eocene Climatic Optima and the Eocene-Oligocene transition. Related questions that will be addressed are: 1) Is global warming associated with substantial poleward extension of the Hadley circulation and subtropical dry zones?, 2) Do mid-latitude storm tracks move poleward carrying precipitation, water vapor, and latent heat with them?, and 3) Do changes in the atmospheric water transport and runoff alter oceanic deep water formation and meridional overturning? The PIs will also address questions specific to Eocene paleoclimate studies. Broader impacts include strong societal relevance, education programs including integration of the research into the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimate and outreach to STEM programs, and training of 3 PhD students.


  • Matthew Huber
  • Gabriel Bowen
  • Mark Pagani, Yale University

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907