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Changes in the Earth's water cycle and how they affect rate of sea level rise




Earth's land masses have stored increasing amounts of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of sea level rise.
Earth's land masses have stored increasing amounts of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of sea level rise.
U.S. National Park Service

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It's widely understood that nature works in a cyclical manner. 

What goes up must come down - things like that.

We've known for some time now that water evaporates from the ocean, then falls over land as rain or snow.

Scientists have long surmised that changes in Earth's water cycle could lead to large changes in the rate of sea level rise.

But just how much of a change? That's been a bit of a mystery.

A new report from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab sheds some light on the matter. 

Researchers have just published the results of 13 years of research in a paper called, 'A decade of sea level rise slowed by climate-driven hydrology'.

It reveals wetland areas around the world are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier. The paper also offers a clearer picture of the current rates of the sea level rise and finds that some of it has been offset by water absorbed within the continents.

Jay Famiglietti, the paper's principal investigator, joined the show to help us make sense of the findings.

To hear the full interview, press the blue play button above.