Across the globe, changes in salinity over time generally match changes in precipitation: places where rainfall declines become saltier, while places where rainfall increases become fresher. Where did saltiness change over the past decade?
Large-scale patterns of sea surface salinity in 2013 mirrored the overall trend seen from 2004 to 2013: salty, dry areas are becoming increasingly salty, and fresher areas are becoming increasingly fresh.
Maps of changes in the saltiness of the surface waters of the ocean over time can reveal natural climate cycles, human-caused changes in evaporation and rainfall, and variation in the strength and location of currents. This map of changes in surface salinity between 2004 and 2012 provides clues to how climate variabiity and change have influenced the global water cycle in the past decade.