Ocean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950-2000

TitleOcean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950-2000
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
JournalScience
Number6080
Pages455-458
Date Published04/2012
Abstract / Summary

Fundamental thermodynamics and climate models suggest dry regions will become drier and wet regions will become wetter in response to warming. Efforts to detect this long-term response in sparse surface observations of rainfall and evaporation remain ambiguous. This research shows ocean salinity patterns express an identifiable fingerprint of an intensifying water cycle. Observations from a fifty-year period (1950-2000) of global surface salinity changes, combined with changes from global climate models, offers robust evidence of an intensified global water cycle at a rate of 8 ± 5% per degree of surface warming. This rate is double the response projected by current-generation climate models and suggests that a substantial (16 to 24%) intensification of the global water cycle will occur in a future world that is 2° to 3° warmer.

URLhttp://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6080/455
DOI10.1126/science.1212222
Journal: Science
Year of Publication: 2012
Number: 6080
Pages: 455-458
Date Published: 04/2012

Fundamental thermodynamics and climate models suggest dry regions will become drier and wet regions will become wetter in response to warming. Efforts to detect this long-term response in sparse surface observations of rainfall and evaporation remain ambiguous. This research shows ocean salinity patterns express an identifiable fingerprint of an intensifying water cycle. Observations from a fifty-year period (1950-2000) of global surface salinity changes, combined with changes from global climate models, offers robust evidence of an intensified global water cycle at a rate of 8 ± 5% per degree of surface warming. This rate is double the response projected by current-generation climate models and suggests that a substantial (16 to 24%) intensification of the global water cycle will occur in a future world that is 2° to 3° warmer.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1212222
Citation:
Durack, PJ, SE Wijffels, and RJ Matear.  2012.  "Ocean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950-2000."  Science 455-458.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1212222.