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Water cycle wrapped

15 May 2019

As our climate changes, the availability of freshwater is a growing issue for many people around the world. Understanding the water cycle and how the climate and human usage is causing shifts in natural cycling processes is vital to safeguarding supplies.

While numerous satellites measure individual components of the water cycle, it has never been described as a whole over a particular region – until now.

Cycling through the oceans, land, ice and the atmosphere, the principles of the way water moves around our planet have remained the same for billions of years.

Climate change and our ever-increasing demand for freshwater is affecting the natural balance of this cycle. However, to understand exactly what is going on, scientists need to study the cycle as a whole.

This is extremely difficult because different satellites offer different types of data, which need to be merged in a coherent way to realise a true picture.

The subject of a recent paper and discussed as a significant scientific result at this week's Living Planet Symposium in Italy, scientists have been able to do this for the Mediterranean region.

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