Report

The Cause of Decreased Pan Evaporation over the Past 50 Years

Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1410-1411
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075390-a

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Abstract

Changes in the global water cycle can cause major environmental and socioeconomic impacts. As the average global temperature increases, it is generally expected that the air will become drier and that evaporation from terrestrial water bodies will increase. Paradoxically, terrestrial observations over the past 50 years show the reverse. Here, we show that the decrease in evaporation is consistent with what one would expect from the observed large and widespread decreases in sunlight resulting from increasing cloud coverage and aerosol concentration.

  • * To whom correspondence should be sent. E-mail: farquhar{at}rsbs.anu.edu.au

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