PerspectiveClimate Change

Is the Hydrological Cycle Accelerating?

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1345-1346
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078972

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As global climate warms, most atmospheric scientists believe that evaporation will increase and as a result, the hydrological cycle will accelerate. But results from a network of water-filled pans used to monitor evaporation suggest that the opposite may be happening. In this Perspective, Ohmura and Wild review the evidence for and against an accelerated hydrological cycle. They highlight a new explanation for the pan evaporation data by Roderick and Farquhar, but warns that the issue is far from resolved.