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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: CLimate scale analysis of Air and Water masses

Currently Active: 

Measuring changes in global rainfall and ensuring computer models of the climate can predict how rainfall will change in the future.

Our hypothesis is that the hydrological cycle is increasing more strongly than the current generation of Earth System Model's predict. We will apply novel thermodynamic analysis techniques in order to confirm if this is the case and ask why ESMs have such a consistent bias. 


1.Diagnose changes in the hydrological cycle by applying 1-D salinity coordinate analysis and 2-D temperature-salinity analysis to long-term trends in observed hydrographic data. Using the latest sea-surface flux products and hydrographic data, quantify the mean balance and seasonal cycle of fresh water fluxes, heat fluxes and mixing in temperature-salinity coordinates.

2.Validate and calibrate the hydrological cycle change derived from observations in (1) by applying salinity and temperature-salinity analysis to a state of the art ocean-only model. Then identify biases in the UK's HADGEM3 Coupled Climate Model and CMIP5 models by applying salinity and temperature-salinity analysis and comparing to observational results obtained in (1).

3.Isolate the source of the biases identified in (2) in a subset of coupled models by applying 2-D temperature-moisture analysis to their atmospheric component. Isolate the physical constraints placed on the models response to climate change scenarios and investigate how this leads to differences in the models hydrological-cycle change.

Key Contacts

Jan D Zika

Related research groups

Physical Oceanography
Rate at which salty areas become saltier and fresh areas fresher (Pattern Amplification-PA) versus the 50yr trend in average surface temperature.
Salinity pattern change vs warming
Observed 50yr trend in surface salinity (colour) and mean surface salinity (contours). From Durack et al 2012
Trend in surface salinity
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