Oceanic Fluxes

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Water transport by evaporation and precipitation balances with water flows
Figure 6

Our estimates of the flux of water into and out of the ocean can be integrated over its surface all around the globe.This provides a view of the strength of the oceanic return flows (Figure 6). Similarly, measurements of the strength of north-south winds and their moisture content allow estimates of the meridional transport of water by the atmosphere.The two curves are largely complementary, showing that it is primarily the oceans that maintain the water balance.One can also see from the curve labeled “Mississippi” that north-south transports of water by rivers are quite small by comparison.  Thus, in discussing the “Global Water Cycle”, it is truly misleading to neglect the dominant oceanic component.



 

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Last updated June 13, 2007
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