Friday, April 27, 2012

Extreme weather and ocean salinity

Illustration from Climatecentral.org
Climate Central has posted a very clear explanation of the new research using changes in ocean salinity to stand in for worldwide drought and rainfall measures. The idea is straightforward: with climate change, extreme weather cycles are likely to worsen. We're starting to see that regionally, but regions - even ones as large as a continent - are too small to give a global picture. Hence the move to measure ocean salinity. (No one has rainfall data over the ocean, so salinity serves as a proxy measure.) As you can see from the map above, ocean saltiness is increasing. And what's really news is that it appears that the change is happening about twice as fast as the land-based predictions had suggested.

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