During the early Palaeocene (zones P1 to P2), the southeastern Tethyan margin experienced a warm and humid climate with high rainfall as indicated by the abundance of kaolinite within marine sedimentary rocks. Subsequently, in Zone P2, arid climatic conditions evolved in the coastal basins of the southern Tethys margin as indicated by the gradual disappearance of kaolinite and the increased abundance of palygorskite and sepiolite. Arid climatic conditions persisted during the Selandian and Thanetian (late Palaeocene) and reached a maximum in the Ypresian (early Eocene). During the late Palaeocene thermal maximum, warm climatic conditions were associated with increased aridity and led to sea surface warming, though not bottom water warming, as suggested by the planktic δ18O excursion observed at the Zomet Telalim basin (Negev, Israel). Strongly reduced surface productivity accompanied by unusually light δ13C are associated with the late Palaeocene thermal maximum in the Negev as well as globally.