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Hydrological Cycle


Bharathidasan university, Trichy – 620 024

The Hydrologic Cycle
(Water Cycle)

 The path water takes as it circulates from

the land to the sky and back again. Water
is recycled this way so we do not run out.
So every time you get a drink of water
remember you are drinking the same
water the dinosaurs drank.
Parts of the hydrologic cycle
 Evaporation

 Condensation

 Precipitation
 Evaporation is when
the sun heats up
water in rivers or
lakes or the ocean
and turns it into
vapor or steam. The
water vapor or
steam leaves the
river, lake or ocean
and goes into the
 Evaporation often implicity
includes transpiration from
plants, though togather they
are specifically refered to as
“Evapotranspiration”. Here
water given off through the
pores of plants and animals
joins the atmosphere as a
 Annual Evapotranspiration
amounts approximately =
505,000 km³ of water
 From the ocean = 434,000
 Water vapor in
the air gets cold
and changes
back into liquid,
clouds. This is

 Precipitation occurs when

so much water has
accumulated that the air
cannot hold it anymore.
The clouds get heavy and
water falls back to the
earth in the form of rain,
hail, sleet or snow.
 When the precipitation
reaches the ground, several
things can happen to it. First,
it might be re-evaporated.
For instance, we have all
seen the mist rising off hot
roads after a summer
 If it isn’t re-evaporated,
much of the water will
become RUNOFF that goes
into streams, lakes and
rivers as it flows back to the
 Some of the precipitation will
be absorbed into the ground.
This is called INFILTRATION.
Once in the ground, the water
can join the earth’s ground
water supply.
 This is one of the world’s
largest store house of water.
The water could also be
absorbed from the ground by
the roots of plants.
 The largest reservoir is the collection of
oceans, accounting for 97% of the Earth’s
water. The next largest quantity(2%) is stored
in solid form in ice caps and glaciers.
 The small amount accounts for
approximately(75%) of all fresh water reserves
on the planet. The water contained within all
living organisms represents the smallest
Volume of water stored in the water
cycle reservoirs
Reservoir Volume of Percent of total
water (106km³ %
Oceans 1370 97.25%
Icecaps,glaciers 29 2.05%
Ground water 9.5 0.68%
Lakes 0.125 0.01%
Soil moisture 0.625 0.005%
Atmosphere 0.013 0.001%
Streams&rivers 0.0017 0.0001%
Biosphere 0.0006 0.00004%
Residence times

 The residence time of a reservoir within the

Hydrological cycle is the average time a
water molecule will spend in that reservoir.

 It is a measure of the average age of the

water in that reservoir, though some water
will spend much less time than average, and
some much more.
Average reservoir residence times
Reservoir Avg residence time

Oceans 3,200 years

Glaciers 20–100 years
Seasonal snow cover 2-6 months
Soil moisture 1-2 months
Ground water-shallow 100-200 years
Ground water-deep 10,000 years
Lakes 50-100 years
Rivers 2-6 months
Atmosphere 9 days
Effects on climate
 The water cycle is powered from solar
 86% of the global evaporation occurs from
the oceans, reducing their temperature by
evaporative cooling.
 Without the cooling effect of evaporation the
green house effect would lead to a much
higher surface temperature of 67°c, and a
warmer planet
Effects on Biogeochemical cycling
 While the water cycle itself a biogeochemical
cycle, flow of water over and beneath the
Earth is a key component of the cycling of
other biogeochemical Runoff is responsible
for almost all of the transport of eroded
sediment and phosphorus from land to water
 The salinity of oceans is derived from
erosion and transport of dissolved salts from
the land.
 Cultural Eutrophication of is primarily due to
phosphorus, applied in excess in agricultural
fields in fertilizers, and then transported over
land and down rivers.

 Both runoff and ground water flow play

significant roles in transporting nitrogen from
the land to water bodies

 Runoff also play a part in the carbon cycle,

again through the transport of eroded rock
and soil.
Don’t alter the
water cycle
 Agriculture
 Industry waste
 Alteration of the chemical composition of the
 Construction of dams
 Deforestation and Afforestation
 Removal of ground water from wells
 Water abstraction from rivers
 Urbanization
 Contributing to climate change
 Withdrawing large amount of fresh water
 Clearing Vegetation and underground water
 Polluting surface and underground water
 Precipitation changes worldwide
 Glaciers melt-loss of water source
 Over population
 Wild fires accelerate several cycles