Global warming is having a serious impact on the earth’s water cycle.
The water cycle is the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.
Australian researchers say the greenhouse effect is accelerating the cycle at almost twice the rate predicted by climate change models.
Scientists, who carried out tests on a series of ocean samples, found that the acceleration of the water cycle has changed rainfall and evaporation, which has increased the ocean’s salinity.
A warmer atmosphere can absorb more water vapour but do due to prevailing winds the rain is not falling in the same places – causing drought in many areas.
Researcher Susan Wijffels said: “The areas that are already dominated by rainfall and that are already wet are getting wetter, and the areas that are arid where evaporation dominates, those areas are getting drier.”
And this will have an impact on the growth and supply of food. When water evaporates from the surface of the ocean, it leaves the salt behind and increased saltiness which contributes to drought.
To monitor these trends scientists have deployed numerous buoys in the ocean. They hope that in the future they can track the oceans salt levels.