27 Apr 2012:
Warming Climate Has Caused
Water Cycle to Intensify, Study Says
A new study published in the journal Science
suggests that the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the world’s oceans has accelerated 4 percent in the last half-century as a result of global warming, a development that could portend more extreme weather in the decades to come
. In an analysis of salinity in the world’s oceans from 1950 to 2000, scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California found that the salty areas of the ocean have gotten notably saltier, and fresher areas have gotten fresher — a phenomenon they attribute to stronger patterns of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean. The researchers suggest that a 1-degree F increase in global temperatures during that period was enough to trigger the 4 percent intensification of the water cycle. If that trend continues, they say, projected increases in global temperatures by 2100 could cause the water cycle to intensify by as much as 20 percent, which means that regions that already receive a lot of rainfall will receive even more, and areas prone to drought will be even drier. “This provides another piece of independent evidence that we need to start taking the problem of global warming seriously,” Paul J. Durack, the lead author of the study, told the New York Times
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