Study Indicates a Greater Threat of Extreme Weather
New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades.
By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean’s surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4% over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate. If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20% later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods.