A new study has revealed that the Earth’s water cycle is accelerating due to climate change, which could lead to more intense rain showers and faster melting of ice sheets, reports RT.
Climatologists expect an increase in the evaporation of water from the sea and oceans, with rising global temperatures, which will lead to the top layer of the sea making more salt and adding water in the form of vapor to the atmosphere.
This in turn will increase precipitation in other parts of the world, diluting some water masses to make it less salty.
This acceleration of the water cycle can have profound effects on modern society, leading to droughts and water shortages, as well as worse storms and floods.
“The acceleration of the water cycle has implications in both the sea and the continent, where storms can get worse,” said study lead author Estrella Olmedo.
This high amount of water circulating in the atmosphere may also explain the increase in precipitation observed in some polar regions, where the fact that it is raining instead of snow accelerates the melting.
To conduct the study, researchers at the Barcelona Institute of Science (ICM-CSIC) analyzed sea surface salinity data, which is measured by satellite.
Ocean salinity is essential for understanding ocean circulation, and is one of the key factors in understanding global climate, as this circulation depends on the density of water determined by its temperature and salinity.
Changes in these two parameters, however small, can have important consequences for the global climate, making it necessary to monitor them closely.
The satellite data enabled the researchers to discover the effect of “stratification” over very large parts of the ocean, stratification is the division of the water column into layers of different densities due to differences in temperature, salinity, or both.
“We were able to see that surface salinity shows an intensification of the water cycle that groundwater salinity does not,” Olmedo said. “Specifically, in the Pacific Ocean, we have seen surface salinity decrease more slowly than subterranean salinity, and in this same region, we have observed an increase in temperature. The surface area of the ocean.”
The study also shows that reduced winds in some parts of the ocean can contribute to an acceleration of the water cycle, as winds create waves, which help stir up different layers of the water column.
Antonio Torrell, another author of the study, said: ‘When the winds are not very strong, the surface water temperature rises, but it does not exchange heat with the water below, so the surface can become saltier than the lower layers. .
“It tells us that the atmosphere and the ocean are interacting in a stronger way than we thought, with significant consequences for continental and polar regions,” he added.
The results published in Scientific Reports are the result of the use of algorithms and other data analysis products created by ICM-CSIC of the European Space Agency (ESA) SMOS space mission.
Satellite data, as opposed to groundwater salinity data, which are measured in situ using sea buoys, enable researchers to analyze the effect of stratification over very large parts of the ocean.
This is due to the ability of satellites to continuously measure data, regardless of environmental conditions and accessibility to different parts of the ocean.
“Ocean models need to standardize the recording of satellite salinity data because the information they provide complements the location data,” Turrell said.
“This is critical, especially in this time of climate crisis, where change is happening much faster than before,” he added.
Modern climate models predict that for every degree Celsius of warming, the Earth’s water cycle can intensify by up to seven percent.
In practice, this means that wet areas can grow by an average of seven percent in wet areas and dry by seven percent.
To ensure that heat waves, droughts and storms do not increase in the future, it is necessary to limit global warming.
A recent study by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the International Energy Agency in Paris found that COP26’s promise to remain heating below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit is still achievable, but only if all commitments are implemented as proposed.
However, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement, to keep warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5% or less), has only a 6-10% chance of being achieved, experts say.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that if we can maintain global warming at 2 ° C, extreme weather conditions will be 14 percent stronger than they were at the beginning of the revolution.