Feeds

Study finds water cycle accelerating with warming

Wet gets wetter, dry gets drier

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Climate models are inaccurate, but not in a comforting way: that’s the conclusion of an ocean salinity study conducted by CSIRO and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which indicates that changes in the water cycle are running faster than models predicted.

Based on the relationship between salinity, evaporation and rainfall, the scientists have concluded that the water cycle strengthened by four percent between 1950 and 2000 – which is double the rate predicted in current climate models.

The scientists, led by Dr Paul Durack at LLNL, also supports the idea that with a warming climate, wet regions are likely to get wetter, with a corresponding drying trend in already dry regions.

Durack says the study found “robust evidence of an intensified global water cycle at a rate of about eight percent per degree of surface warming”.

An enhancement of the water cycle, he said, is driven by the ability of warmer air to hold and redistribute more moisture.

The study, published in Science (abstract here), was designed to overcome the ambiguity of land-based observations of the water cycle. Salinity provides a good proxy for both rainfall and evaporation, and with a fleet of 3,500 profilers now in the field, the researchers are able to work with a global data set.

Moreover, as Durack points out, oceans receive 80 percent of the world’s rainfall, and have absorbed about 90 percent of the heat added to the Earth due to atmospheric warming.

While the error margin in Durack’s prediction is high (water cycle accelerating 8 percent plus-or-minus 5 percent per degree of atmospheric warming), even at the low end, he says, acceleration of the water cycle would have serious implications for freshwater availability. &reg

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.