why does evaporation make ocean water saltier

When water evaporates it leaves salt behind causing water in warmer areas that have more evaporation to have saltier water. The Mediterranean Sea (from observ
ation via thermal images from space) is one of the saltiest seas, also the Red Sea (to a lesser extent). Both the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake are so salty that most people find it easy to float. Lake Assal is considered the saltiest body of water outside of Antarctica. The Northern Pacific is at the other end of the spectrum, containing relatively lower ocean salinity. Water evaporation at phenomenal rate in warmer places causes accumulation of salt in respective area. Add to the fact that the warmer the water the higher the maximum saturation capacity and you have very salty seas.


These are the main two factors of water salinity. There are areas in the world where fresh water mixes with salt water, thus reducing the salinity. These areas include: 1) The mouths of rivers; 2) The melting ice pack, such as in the Arctic and Antarctic; and 3) Areas around Greenland, where the glaciers 'calve' off, making icebergs. This list is not all inclusive. Why is the sea water salty, and not the water of the big lakes? Is the salt concentration changing over time? It is thought that the salt in the oceans stems from erosion of bedrock on continents, where the minerals from these rocks are eventually carried out by rivers to the oceans.


Over time, the oceans, which act as the final sink for almost all rivers, become more salty. Rivers that don't make it to the ocean are trapped in basins known as "endoheric" basins, instead ending in a lake (like in the case of the Dead Sea) that also gets saltier over time. Most big lakes with outlets are fed by fresh water, either from the atmosphere as rain, from the melting of glaciers, or from underground aquifers, leaving them less salty. People don't really know what happens to the salt concentration (or salinity) of the oceans over time; Accurate salinity maps of oceans are hard to produce since oceans are so big.


As the Earth's temperature rises in the future (both from natural and human effects) - two things will happen to the salinity. First, increased evaporation over oceans will tend to make the salinity rise. Second, increased melting at the poles will bring more freshwater into the oceans, which will decrease the salinity. Which of these two effects dominates the water cycle in the future will determine the change in salt concentration. For more information about the salinity data that is available (in North America), check out the. This page was last updated on June 27, 2015.

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