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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-54
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-54
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Jul 2020

20 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Water transport among the world ocean basins within the water cycle

David García-García1, Isabel Vigo1, and Mario Trottini2 David García-García et al.
  • 1Applied Mathematics Department, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, 03690, Spain
  • 2Mathematics Department, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, 03690, Spain

Abstract. Global water cycle involves water-mass transport on land, atmosphere, ocean, and among them. Quantification of such transport, and especially its time evolution, is essential to identify footprints of the climate change and helps to constrain and improve climatic models. In the ocean, net water-mass transport among the ocean basins is a key, but poorly estimated parameter presently. We propose a new methodology that incorporates the time-variable gravity observations from the GRACE satellite (2003–2016) to estimate the change of water content, and that overcomes some fundamental limitations of existing approaches. We show that the Pacific and Arctic Oceans receive an average of 1916 (95 % confidence interval [1812, 2021] Gt/month (~0.72 ± 0.02 Sv) of excess freshwater from the atmosphere and the continents that gets discharged into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, where net evaporation minus precipitation returns the water to complete the cycle. This is in contrast to previous GRACE-based studies, where the notion of a seesaw mass exchange between the Pacific and Atlantic/Indian Oceans has been reported. Seasonal climatology as well as the interannual variability of water-mass transport are also reported.

David García-García et al.

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Short summary
Global water cycle involves water-mass transport on land, atmosphere, ocean, and among them. GRACE mission, launched in 2002, allowed to quantify water-mass variations. It was a revolution in the understanding of Earth dynamics. In this study, we develop and apply a novel method, based on GRACE data and atmospheric models, that allows to systematically estimate the water-mass exchange among ocean basins. Such information is valuable to understand the role of the ocean within the water cycle.
Global water cycle involves water-mass transport on land, atmosphere, ocean, and among them....
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