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Ocean hydrologic cycle

PI: James Carton
Institution: University of Maryland
Abstract:
While ocean salinity is poorly documented variable in the instrumental record, some features are becoming evident. The subpolar North Atlantic is freshening, while the subtropics of both hemispheres in the Atlantic are becoming saltier. Likewise, there is some evidence that the western tropical Pacific is becoming fresher nearsurface.

These patterns of freshening and salinification are interesting for two reasons. First, salinity is a state variable and thus any changes potentially affect the longterm circulation of the ocean. Secondly, salinity reflects the accumulated imbalance of the atmospheric hydrologic cycle and thus examination of changes allow us to infer information about longterm changes in the atmosphere.

In this project I will examine the oceanic hydrologic cycle of the IPCC-type 20th century runs of the coupled models to explore the type of variability one might expect in the historical record and the physical processes that lead to this variability.

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