Review Evaluates the Evidence for an Intensifying Indian Ocean Water Cycle

Review Evaluates the Evidence for an Intensifying Indian Ocean Water Cycle

Report Calls for Better Integration of Observations, Models, and Paleo ProxiesThe Indian Ocean has been warming much more than other ocean basins over the last 50-60 years. While temperature changes basin-wide can be unequivocally attributed to human-induced climate change, it is difficult to assess whether contemporary heat and freshwater changes in the Indian Ocean since 1980 represent an anthropogenically-forced transformation of the hydrological cycle. The Indian Ocean, the paper notes, “is particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change,” in part because the ocean is bounded to the north by the Asian continent. This means that heat from the Pacific Ocean that enters the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Seas cannot easily exit the basin. The basin “could be a kind of canary in a coal mine,” says Ummenhofer, because those changes now being observed in the Indian Ocean also could happen in other oceans.

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