Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2002 Sep 12;419(6903):224-32.

Constraints on future changes in climate and the hydrologic cycle.

Author information

Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK.

Erratum in

  • Nature. 2012 Sep 27;489(7417):590.


What can we say about changes in the hydrologic cycle on 50-year timescales when we cannot predict rainfall next week? Eventually, perhaps, a great deal: the overall climate response to increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases may prove much simpler and more predictable than the chaos of short-term weather. Quantifying the diversity of possible responses is essential for any objective, probability-based climate forecast, and this task will require a new generation of climate modelling experiments, systematically exploring the range of model behaviour that is consistent with observations. It will be substantially harder to quantify the range of possible changes in the hydrologic cycle than in global-mean temperature, both because the observations are less complete and because the physical constraints are weaker.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center