Vattenomsättningen blir allt snabbare

Varm luft kan [1] innehålla mer vatten som vattenånga och moln samtidigt som avdunstning från vatten, mark och växter ökar av värme.

Water cycle of the Earth’s surface, showing the individual components of transpiration and evaporation that make up evapotranspiration. Other closely related processes shown are runoff and groundwater recharge.

The rate at which plants and the land surface release moisture into the air has increased on a global scale between 2003 and 2019. These processes are collectively known as evapotranspiration, and a new NASA study [1] has calculated its increase by using observations from gravity satellites.

Via satellitdata som samlats in under 17 år har forskare från NASA konstaterat att evapotranspirationen (omsättning av vatten via avdunstning från ytor och växter) är upp emot dubbelt större än tidigare uppskattningar.

“Our study found that evapotranspiration has increased by about 10% since 2003, which is more than previously estimated, and is mostly due to warming temperatures,” said Madeleine Pascolini-Campbell, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, who led the study. “We hope that this information about the water cycle will help to better inform the development and validation of climate models.”

Med ökande temperaturer och avdunstning från mark, vatten och växter kommer allt mer vatten att finnas i atmosfären och dess rörelseenergi stiger avsevärt när det blåser. Där det redan finns ett underskott av vatten kommer torka att förvärras. Vattenånga i atmosfären reflekterar delar av Jordens utgående värmestrålning som i sin tur höjer temperaturen.

To get a global estimate of how evapotranspiration is changing, researchers found a new way to leverage data collected by the pair of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) [3] satellites that operated from 2002 to 2017, and the successor pair, GRACE Follow-On, that launched in 2018. The GRACE mission was launched by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and GRACE-FO is a partnership between NASA and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Because water has mass and therefore contributes to the Earth’s gravity signal, these spacecraft are exquisitely sensitive to the movement of water around the world, from tracking changes in ice sheets to water stored on land to variations in ocean mass. Seeing an opportunity, the researchers studied the 17-year dataset from GRACE and GRACE-FO to see if it was possible to tease out the gravitational signal associated with the movement of water by evapotranspiration.

“With the combined record of GRACE and GRACE-FO, we now have a long-enough observational record to be able to monitor these critical signs of global change,” said JT Reager, a JPL scientist and an investigator on the study. “When the gravity signal decreases, it means the land is losing water. Some of that loss is through rivers flowing back into the oceans, but the rest of it goes up into the atmosphere as evapotranspiration.”

Med data från dessa ytterst känsliga satelliter fann man att evapotranspirationen ökade från 405 mm/år 2003 till 444 mm/år 2019, en ökning med 2.30±0.5 mm/år.

“For years, we’ve been looking for a way to measure gross changes in the global water cycle, and finally we’ve found it,” said Reager. “The magnitude of the evapotranspiration increases really surprised us: This is a sizable signal indicating our planet’s water cycle is changing.”

[1] Att värme ökar luftens kapacitet att innehålla vattenånga innebär inte att den gör det.

[2] The study, titled: “A 10% increase in global land evapotranspiration from 2003 to 2019,” was published May 26 in Nature. In addition to JPL, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, contributed to this research.

[3] Tidigare om GRACE:



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