Navigation Links
Earth's water cycle intensifying with atmospheric warming
Date:5/21/2012

A clear change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signalling shifts and an acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle.

In a paper published in the journal Science, Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, reported changing patterns of salinity in the global ocean during the past 50 years, marking a clear fingerprint of climate change.

Lead author, Dr Paul Durack, said that by looking at observed ocean salinity changes and the relationship between salinity, rainfall and evaporation in climate models, they determined the water cycle has strengthened by four per cent from 1950-2000. This is twice the response projected by current generation global climate models.

"Salinity shifts in the ocean confirm climate and the global water cycle have changed.

"These changes suggest that arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions have become wetter in response to observed global warming," said Dr Durack, a post-doctoral fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

With a projected temperature rise of 3C by the end of the century, the researchers estimate a 24 per cent acceleration of the water cycle is possible.

Scientists have struggled to determine coherent estimates of water cycle changes from land-based data because surface observations of rainfall and evaporation are sparse. However, according to the team, global oceans provide a much clearer picture.

"The ocean matters to climate it stores 97 per cent of the world's water; receives 80 per cent of the all surface rainfall and; it has absorbed 90 per cent of the Earth's energy increase associated with past atmospheric warming," said co-author, Dr Richard Matear of CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

"Warming of the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere is expected to strengthen the water cycle largely driven by the ability of warmer air to hold and redistribute more moisture."

He said the intensification is an enhancement in the patterns of exchange between evaporation and rainfall and with oceans accounting for 71 percent of the global surface area the change is clearly represented in ocean surface salinity patterns.

In the study, the scientists combined 50-year observed global surface salinity changes with changes from global climate models and found "robust evidence of an intensified global water cycle at a rate of about eight per cent per degree of surface warming," Dr Durack said.

Dr Durack said the patterns are not uniform, with regional variations agreeing with the 'rich get richer' mechanism, where wet regions get wetter and dry regions drier.

He said a change in freshwater availability in response to climate change poses a more significant risk to human societies and ecosystems than warming alone.

"Changes to the global water cycle and the corresponding redistribution of rainfall will affect food availability, stability, access and utilization," Dr Durack said.

Dr Susan Wijffels, co-Chair of the global Argo project and a co-author on the study, said maintenance of the present fleet of around 3,500 profilers is critical to observing continuing changes to salinity in the upper oceans.


'/>"/>
Contact: Craig Macaulay
Craig.Macaulay@csiro.au
61-362-325-219
CSIRO Australia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Experts to discuss global water crisis
2. Commercial aquatic plants offer cost-effective method for treating wastewater
3. UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
4. Waterborne disease risk upped in Great Lakes
5. Turning freshwater farm ponds into crab farms
6. Ripple effect: Water snails offer new propulsion possibilities
7. NJIT professors research suggests changes in underwater data communications
8. Providing toilets, safe water is top route to reducing world poverty: UN University
9. Cold water corals conference to be held in Woods Hole
10. Scientists achieve first tracking of salmon from headwaters in Rockies through Pacific to Alaska
11. Scripps Florida scientists awarded $1.5M to fight major water and food parasites
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at ... between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... startups will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM ... France is one of the most ... increase in the number of startups created between 2012 and ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... --  Bridge Patient Portal , an enterprise patient ... Systems , an electronic medical record solutions developer ... a partnership to build an interface between the ... products, including Centricity Practice Solution (CPS), Centricity Business ... integrations will allow healthcare delivery networks using GE ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... Dr. Joshua Mondlick has introduced the LANAP® protocol ... Mondlick Perio, in the Phoenix area. Dr. Mondlick is at the forefront ... cleared laser treatment to re-grow bone and with significantly less pain than traditional surgery ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 13, 2017 , ... Thousands of ... and August for the National Aeromodeling Championships (Nats). Pilots come to Muncie to compete ... to earn spots on US teams that participate in world championships. , RC Pylon ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... , ... July 13, 2017 , ... ... two spectrophotometer calibration standards. Blast forward seven years and now they are ... holmium oxide for wavelength accuracy, and resolution testing. , ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... Trinity Sterile, ... reusable medical supplies has chosen The Copley Consulting Group to implement and deploy ... to align its internal and backend operations to streamline efficiencies to meet the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: