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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-120
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-120
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 20 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Revisiting global hydrological cycle: Is it intensifying?

Demetris Koutsoyiannis Demetris Koutsoyiannis
  • Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Heroon Polytechneiou 5, GR 157 80 Zographou, Greece

Abstract. As a result of technological advances in monitoring atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, as well as in data management and processing, several data bases have become freely available. These can be exploited in revisiting the global hydrological cycle with the aim, on the one hand, to better quantify it and, on the other hand, to test the established climatological hypotheses, according to which the hydrological cycle should be intensifying because of global warming. By processing the information from gridded ground observations, satellite data and reanalyses, it turns out that the established hypotheses are not confirmed. Instead of monotonic trends, there appear fluctuations from intensification to deintensification and vice versa, with deintensification prevailing in the 21st century. The water balance on land and sea appears to be lower than the standard figures of literature, but with greater variability on climatic time scales, which is in accordance with Hurst-Kolmogorov stochastic dynamics. The most obvious anthropogenic signal in the hydrological cycle appears to be the overexploitation of groundwater, which has a visible effect on sea level rise. Melting of glaciers has an equal effect, but in this case it in not known which part is anthropogenic, as studies on polar regions attribute mass loss mostly to ice dynamics.

Demetris Koutsoyiannis

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Demetris Koutsoyiannis

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Latest update: 31 May 2020
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Short summary
The study uses a great amount of global hydroclimatic datasets to revisit the global hydrological cycle for its better quantification. It also tests established climatological hypotheses, according to which the atmospheric water amount should increase by about 6 %–7 % per °C of warming and hence the hydrological cycle should be intensifying because of global warming. The data do not confirm the hypotheses. A stochastic view of hydroclimate provides more reliable means to deal with its variability.
The study uses a great amount of global hydroclimatic datasets to revisit the global...
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