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Ocean salinities reveal strong global water cycle intensification during 1950 to 2000
Durack, P.J.; Wijffels, S.E.; Matear, R.J. (2012). Ocean salinities reveal strong global water cycle intensification during 1950 to 2000. Science (Wash.) 336(6080): 455-458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1212222
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Durack, P.J.
  • Wijffels, S.E.
  • Matear, R.J.

Abstract
    Fundamental thermodynamics and climate models suggest that 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. We show that ocean salinity patterns express an identifiable fingerprint of an intensifying water cycle. Our 50-year observed global surface salinity changes, combined with changes from global climate models, present 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 2 degrees to 3 degrees warmer world.

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