Temporal and spatial variability of global water balance

Climatic Change
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Abstract

An analysis of simulated global water-balance components (precipitation [P], actual evapotranspiration [AET], runoff [R], and potential evapotranspiration [PET]) for the past century indicates that P has been the primary driver of variability in R. Additionally, since about 2000, there have been increases in P, AET, R, and PET for most of the globe. The increases in R during 2000 through 2009 have occurred despite unprecedented increases in PET. The increases in R are the result of substantial increases in P during the cool Northern Hemisphere months (i.e. October through March) when PET increases were relatively small; the largest PET increases occurred during the warm Northern Hemisphere months (April through September). Additionally, for the 2000 through 2009 period, the latitudinal distribution of P departures appears to co-vary with the mean P departures from 16 climate model projections of the latitudinal response of P to warming, except in the high latitudes. Finally, changes in water-balance variables appear large from the perspective of departures from the long-term means. However, when put into the context of the magnitudes of the raw water balance variable values, there appears to have been little change in any of the water-balance variables over the past century on a global or hemispheric scale.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temporal and spatial variability of global water balance
Series title Climatic Change
DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0798-0
Volume 120
Issue 1-2
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 13 p.
First page 375
Last page 387