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Changes in the global hydrological-cycle inferred from ocean salinity


Helm, KP and Bindoff, NL and Church, JA, Changes in the global hydrological-cycle inferred from ocean salinity, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, (L18701) EJ ISSN 0094-8276 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2010 American Geophysical Union.

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DOI: doi:10.1029/2010GL044222


Using global datasets of in situ observations, we calculate salinity changes on ocean‐density surfaces between 1970 and 2005. This reveals a global pattern of increased salinities near the upper‐ocean salinity‐maximum layer (average depth of ∼100 m) and decreased salinities near the intermediate salinity minimum (average depth of ∼700 m). The salinity changes imply a 3 ± 2% decrease in precipitation‐minus evaporation (P‐E) over the mid and low latitude oceans in both hemispheres, a 7 ± 4% increase in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, and a 16 ± 6% increase in the Southern Ocean since 1970. This pattern of increased precipitation at high latitudes and decreased precipitation in the subtropics is reflected in both land records and in the short satellite records. The quantification of the atmospheric signal of climate change on ocean salinity supports model projections, and extends the growing evidence for an acceleration of the Earth’s water cycle.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:global hydrological cycle, ocean salinity, climate change, global climate models
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Helm, KP (Mr Kieran Helm)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Church, JA (Dr John Church)
ID Code:68293
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:136
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2011-03-10
Last Modified:2014-07-30
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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