Research from the University of Southampton has provided robust evidence that wet regions of Earth are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier but it is happening at a slower rate than previously thought.
The study, published in Scientific Reports, analysed the saltiness of the world’s oceans.
More rain and outflow from rivers in a region of an ocean means sea water gets diluted and therefore becomes less salty. More evaporation in another region takes away fresh water and leaves salt behind making that region more saline.
The researchers used measurements of salinity throughout the global and deep oceans over the last 60 years to estimate how much global rainfall is changing.
The researchers found that the regions, which are relatively wet, like Northern Europe are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier both by about 2 per cent over the last 60 years. This process is called amplification of the water cycle.