Global river rise?

We already know that global warming causes sea levels to rise …

The new news is that it increases river flow too.

La Meuse as seen in Liege, Belgium

A new study reports that, globally, annual fresh-water flow has increased 18% from 1994 to 2006. The primary cause is not melting of land glaciers or permafrost, but rather what is describe as “intensification” of the water cycle; or in other words, more evaporation and more rainfall.

Not surprisingly, the 18% increase is quantified in standard scientific units, or about 540 cubic kilometers worth of new water. Not being much of a metric hound, that number pulled me in as much as it left me out, leaving me to ponder:

“How much would it be in more Florida-friendly units?”

Lake Okeechobee as seen from levee near South Port


After a bit of fancy finger work on my trusty “swampulator,” the answer appeared: About 110 Lake Okeechobees worth, or about 22 days of flow from the Mississippi River.

Corollary: We are well aware of how sea level rise might affect Florida, but are we also seeing an increase in freshwater flows locally in the Glades as well? Parts of Shark River Slough show a poorly understood wetter trend (i.e. deeper and longer durations of flooding) staring in the mid 1990s. I wonder if this helps explain it?

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