Climate: Wet regions getting wetter, dry regions getting drier

"Our findings match what has been predicted by models of a warming climate," said researcher Nikolaos Skliris.

By Brooks Hays

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- New research confirms the influence of global warming on global precipitation. As temperatures rise, wet regions get wetter and dry regions get drier.

To measure the amplification of the water cycle, researchers from the University of Southampton collected and analyzed ocean water samples from around the globe. Salinity is affected by the outflow of freshwater. In wet regions, freshwater is spilled into the ocean in abundance, diluting ocean water and suppressing salinity levels. The opposite is true of dry regions, where water resources are likely to become increasingly scarce.


The samples collected as part of the latest study prove salinity levels of ocean water influenced by wet regions are dropping. Increased precipitation is yielding a greater output of freshwater.

The real-world findings suggest the rate of water cycle amplification has been overestimated by models. Wet regions are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier, just not quite as quickly as simulations suggest. But the discrepancy is minor, researchers say.

"Our findings match what has been predicted by models of a warming climate," Nikolaos Skliris, a research fellow at Southampton, said in a news release.

The data -- detailed in the journal Scientific Reports --- confirms the validity of the climate models.


"The agreement between climate models and observations over the recent past is another important finding of this study because it adds confidence to climate model projections of water cycle amplification under greenhouse gas emission scenarios," added Skliris.

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