After reviewing more than 100 peer-reviewed studies, Thomas Huntington from the United States Geological Survey, has concluded that there is more water circulating as a consequence of global warming. This includes more rainfall and more evaporation, but there has not been more tropical storms or more floods over the last 100 years.
Huntington’s findings were published earlier this week in the Journal of Hydrology (Volume 319, No 1-4, pages 83-95) in a paper titled ‘Evidence for intensification of the global water cycle: Review and synthesis’.
Eureka Alert includes the following comment about the study:
“Although data are not complete, and sometimes contradictory, the weight of evidence from past studies shows on a global scale that precipitation, runoff, atmospheric water vapor, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, growing season length, and wintertime mountain glacier mass are all increasing. The key point with the glaciers is that there is more snowfall resulting in more wintertime mass accumulation – another indication of intensification.
“This intensification has been proposed and would logically seem to result in more flooding and more intense tropical storm seasons. But over the observational period, those effects are just not borne out by the data in a consistent way,” said Huntington.
Huntington notes that the long term and global scale of this study could accommodate significant variability, for example, the last two Atlantic hurricane seasons.
“We are talking about two possible overall responses to global climate warming: first an intensification of the water cycle being manifested by more moisture in the air, more precipitation, more runoff, more evapotranspiration, which we do see in this study; and second, the potential effects of the intensification that would include more flooding and more tropical storms which we don’t see in this study,” said Huntington.“
Thanks to Benny Peiser for alerting me to this study.