5.8 Meridional Fresh Water Transport
The Earth's water budget is dominated by evaporation and precipitation over the ocean. Baumgartner and Reichel (1975) report that 86% of global evaporation and 78% of global precipitation occur over the ocean. A map of the net evaporation (Figure 5.12) shows that evaporation exceeds a meter per year in the trade-wind regimes in the eastern parts of the oceans. The transport of fresh water by the ocean can be calculated in the same ways heat transports are calculated, with similar uncertainties (Figure 5.13). Knowledge of water fluxes and transports is important for understanding the global hydrological cycle, ocean dynamics, and global climate. For example, the variability of fresh water fluxes may have played an important role in the ice ages as discussed in §13.3.
|Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University
Robert H. Stewart, email@example.com
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Updated on October 13, 2010