Studies reveal that the sea-surface temperature (SST) of the Northern Hemisphere decreased at a smaller amplitude than that of the Southern Hemisphere during the Eocene–Oligocene transition (EOT). This interhemispheric temperature asymmetry has been associated with intensified Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) that may have driven enhanced precipitation and weathering in low latitudes and the subsequent drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, no quantitative constraints on paleo-precipitation have been reported in low latitudes to characterize the AMOC effect across the EOT. Here, we present the results of high-resolution (ca. 6 k.y. per sample) isotopic and biomarker records from the Gulf of Mexico. Reconstructed precipitation using leaf wax carbon isotopes shows an increase of 44% across the EOT (34.1–33.6 Ma), which is accompanied by a secular increase in SST of ~2 °C during the latest Eocene. We attribute the enhanced precipitation in the Gulf of Mexico to the northward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone that was driven by an enlarged polar-tropic temperature gradient in the Southern Hemisphere and an invigorated AMOC. Our findings link changes in meridional temperature gradient and large-scale oceanic circulation to the lowlatitude terrestrial hydroclimate and provide paleohydrological evidence that supports CO2-weathering feedback during the EOT “greenhouse” to “icehouse” transition.

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