Ocean salinity is a predictor of terrestrial precipitation
Ocean-to-land moisture transport leaves an imprint on sea surface salinity, making this “nature’s rain gauge” to measure the variations of the water cycle. Two new studies provide strong evidence that salinity in the subtropical North Atlantic is a skillful predictor for precipitation in the African Sahel and the US Midwest.
Detecting human influence on oceanic oxygen
There is very little doubt that human-driven climate warming will result in widespread ocean deoxygenation; however, substantial natural variation and sparse observational records make it difficult to determine when. New research suggests that human-driven changes in oxygen levels are evident in many oceanic regions now and will be widespread in the next 15-20 years.
Summer 2014 winds gave the 2015-16 El Niño a head start
New research shows how easterly winds in the summer of 2014 caused the anomalously warm subsurface water of the tropical Pacific—which presages an El Niño event and formed following the early 2014 westerly wind burst—to never discharge poleward, thereby remaining in the tropical Pacific and giving a head start to the developing 2015-16 El Niño.
Protracted groundwater depletion in California after drought – could 2016-17 be worse?
Many people were counting on the strong El Niño this winter to produce surplus water to recharge the groundwater and make up for what’s been pumped out due to the severe drought. However, a new study found that the groundwater level in California’s Central Valley has continued to decline even when drought has recovered.
Small island nations face drier conditions by mid-century
Future changes in freshwater availability are a major concern in the context of climate change. New research finds that overall changes to island freshwater balance will shift towards greater aridity for over 73% of 80 globally distributed island groups identified, impacting 16 million people by mid-century.
The warmest January and February in the Arctic
Right from the beginning of 2016 new records were set in the Arctic: warmest air temperature on record in both January and February, and the lowest sea ice cover in February. This year’s record high temperature and low sea ice cover increases concerns about what will happen next in the Arctic and globally under a changing climate.