The study warns that the Earth’s water cycle is INCREASING due to climate change

Earth’s water cycle is accelerating due to climate changeaccording to a new study, resulting in more intense thunderstorms and faster melting of the polar ice caps.

As global temperatures rise, climate scientists predict that there will be increased evaporation of water from the seas and oceans.

This will make the upper layer of the sea saltier and add water to the atmosphere in the form of vapor.

This, in turn, will increase rainfall in other parts of the world, diluting some bodies of water to make them even less salty.

This acceleration of the water cycle could have a profound impact on modern society, causing droughts and water shortages, as well as more intense storms and floods.

“The acceleration of the water cycle has implications both in the ocean and on the continent, where storms could become increasingly intense,” said Estrella Olmedo, the lead author of the study.

“This increased amount of water circulating in the atmosphere could also explain the increased rainfall that is seen in some polar areas, where the fact that it rains instead of snow is accelerating melting.”

Map showing the average salinity of the sea surface of the world's seas and oceans in the period 2011-2018

Map showing the average salinity of the sea surface of the world’s seas and oceans in the period 2011-2018

Accelerating the water cycle could have a profound impact on modern society, leading to droughts and water shortages, as well as more storms and floods

Accelerating the water cycle could have a profound impact on modern society, leading to drought and water shortages, as well as more storms and floods

THE WATER CYCLE

The water cycle is the process by which water is continuously transferred between the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere.

The sun’s heat melts glaciers and snow into liquid water.

This water goes into the oceans, lakes and streams. Water from melting snow and ice also ends up in the ground. There, it provides water for the plants and the ground water we drink.

Snow that falls on a glacier during the winter months usually replaces water that melts in the summer.

The sun’s heat evaporates water from oceans, lakes and streams. Evaporation occurs when liquid water on the earth’s surface turns into water vapor in our atmosphere.

Water from plants and trees also enters the atmosphere. This is called sweat.

Hot water vapor rises through the earth’s atmosphere. As water vapor rises higher and higher, the fresh air from the atmosphere causes the water vapor to return to liquid water, creating clouds. This process is called condensation.

When a cloud fills with liquid water, it falls from the sky in the form of rain or snow, also known as precipitation.

Rain and snow then fill lakes and streams and the process starts all over again.

SOURCE: Nasa

To conduct the study, researchers from the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona analyzed data on ocean surface salinity, measured by satellites.

Ocean salinity is essential for understanding ocean circulation, one of the key factors in understanding global climate.

This circulation depends on the density of the water, which is determined by its temperature and salinity.

Therefore, changes in these two parameters, however small they may be, can end up having major consequences on the global climate, which makes it essential to monitor them closely.

The satellite data allowed the researchers to detect the effect of “layering” on very large regions of the ocean.

Stratification is the division of the water column into layers of different densities, caused by differences in temperature or salinity or both.

“We were able to see that the surface salinity is showing an intensification of the water cycle unlike the underground salinity,” said Olmedo.

“In particular, in the Pacific we have seen that surface salinity decreases more slowly than underground and, in this same region, we have observed an increase in the surface temperature of the sea.”

The study also shows that decreasing wind in some areas of the ocean could contribute to the acceleration of the water cycle.

This is because the wind creates waves, which help lift different layers of the water column.

“Where the wind is no longer as strong, the surface water heats up, but does not exchange heat with the water below, allowing the surface to become more saline than the lower layers,” said Antonio Turiel, another author of the study. .

“This tells us that the atmosphere and the ocean interact in a stronger way than we imagined, with important consequences for the continental and polar areas.”

The graph compares the oceanic salinity between 60 ° S and 60 ° N measured by the satellite (black), the model (pink) and the annual climatology (gray) averaged over the entire region

The global water cycle is the constant movement of fresh water between clouds, land and ocean and plays an important role in our daily life

The global water cycle is the constant movement of fresh water between clouds, land and ocean and plays an important role in our daily life

“We are on track for climate disaster”

To meet the ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 2.7 ° F (1.5 ° C), global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest, a new UN report has warned. .

The United Nations Intergovernmental Group on Climate change (IPCC) says there is a “short and fast closing window of opportunity” to limit warming by 2100.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by a whopping 48% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 if we are to reach the target.

Meanwhile, methane emissions need to be cut by a third by 2030 and nearly halved by 2050.

As it stands, we are currently on track for global warming of 5.7 ° F (3.2 ° C) by 2100, with devastating consequences for “all living things,” according to the IPCC.

The results, published in the journal Scientific reportsthey are the result of the use of algorithms and other data analysis products that the ICM-CSIC generated from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) SMOS space mission.

Unlike subsurface salinity data, which is measured in situ using ocean buoys, satellite data allows researchers to analyze the effect of stratification on very large regions of the ocean.

This is due to the ability of satellites to measure data continuously, regardless of environmental conditions and the accessibility of different areas of the ocean.

“Ocean models must standardize the assimilation of satellite salinity data, as the information they provide complements the in situ data,” Turiel said.

“This is crucial, especially in the current time of climate crisis, where changes are happening much faster than before.”

Recent climate models predict that for every degree Celsius of warming, Earth’s water cycle could intensify by up to seven percent.

In practice, this means that wetlands could grow 7% in terms of climate and dry areas 7% drier on average.

The only way to ensure that heat waves, droughts and storms do not intensify in the future is to limit global warming.

A recent study by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the International Energy Agency in Paris, France found that the COP26’s commitment to keep warming below 3.6ºF is still achievablebut only if all commitments are implemented as proposed.

A recent study by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the International Energy Agency in Paris, France found that the COP26’s commitment to keep warming below 3.6ºF is still achievablebut only if all commitments are implemented as proposed.

However, the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement – to keep warming at 2.7 ° F (1.5 ° C) or less – has only a 6-10% chance of being achieved, they say.

Meanwhile, the most recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change estimates that if we manage to keep global warming at 2 ° C, extreme weather events will be 14% stronger than they were at the start of the industrial revolution.

WHAT IS OCEAN STRATIFICATION?

The ocean is layered due to density differences, with warmer, lighter, and less salty water overlapping heavier, colder, and saltier water.

The mixing between the layers occurs as the heat slowly penetrates deeper into the ocean and due to the action of the current, winds and tides.

But the greater the difference in density between the layers, the slower and more difficult the mixing and the more stable the ocean becomes.

A warm climate increases the stability of the ocean by making the surface ocean less dense, primarily by heating the water itself, which expands its volume, and also by melting the ice, which adds fresh water to the ocean and decreases salinity. superficial.

The resulting increase in stratification further drives global warming.

Warmer water on the surface can absorb less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which increases the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and, in turn, further warms the earth’s surface, including the upper ocean layer.

The rise in upper ocean temperature has a number of other negative effects.

Warmer water can absorb less oxygen, and the oxygen that is absorbed cannot mix easily with the colder ocean waters below, making it difficult for marine life to thrive.

Warmer ocean water also leads to greater coral reef bleaching and more favorable conditions for the development of intense, long-lasting hurricanes.