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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Salty Seas

Author: Guest Writer/Sunday, April 29, 2012/Categories: Uncategorized

The oceans are getting more salty. In a new Science Magazine report, Australian researchers confirm that saltier parts of the ocean are getting saltier and the fresher parts are getting fresher.

Paul Durack, a marine environmental researcher at CSIRO and the University of Tasmania and now a fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and his team analyzed ocean salinity changes and the relationship between salinity, rainfall and evaporation. Salinity affects the hydologic cycle and the research determined that the world's water cycle had now strengthened by 4 per cent. These changes have occurred  over the past 50 years, a geological ‘blink of an eye’, between 1950 to 2000. This change represented twice the level predicted by international climate change models used in making long-term climate predictions.

In comments to the Canberra Times, Durack says: "Salinity shifts in the ocean confirm climate and the global water cycles have changed. I come from Perth, in dry western Australia, and you can see the change."


Global Ocean Salinity

(credit: Paul Durack/LLNL)

Ocean salinity alterations at this level to the global water cycle will affect rainfall and weather patterns in unknown ways. Potentially, there could be adverse impacts to food production, social stability, and the environmental status of fisheries, marine mammal populations, and the situation in deserts and forests can be envisioned.

As the old sea shanty says, sailing the salty seas now takes on several new meanings.



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