Hydrologic Cycle

Words: 1659
Topic: Sciences

The masses of water over the globe are in a constant motion. Thus, water can be presented in three states which are liquid, gas, and solid. They change during the hydrologic cycle as a result of such processes as evaporation, transpiration, sublimation, condensation, precipitation, and infiltration.

In spite of the fact the most amount of water contains in such reservoirs as the oceans and glaciers, water continuously changes its states. Therefore, it is also presented in the atmosphere and underground. The factor which influences this process is the Sun energy which causes the changes of the temperature (Berner and Berner). That is why a water molecule can move through the hydrologic cycle with changing different states which are caused by a variety of factors.

It is possible to start the description of the water molecule’s path from its evaporating from the ocean because there is about 70% of water in the oceans, and the hydrologic cycle ends in the oceans. The process of evaporation is affected by the heat energy. Thus, a water molecule evaporates from the oceans, lakes, and rivers.

When the heat energy affects the trees or soil which contains great amounts of water, the process is known as transpiration. Moreover, those water molecules which form glaciers sublimate into the atmosphere and change their state from the solid one into gas without the liquid stage (Harman).

In the atmosphere, the evaporated water is affected by the changes in the temperature, and this water begins to condense in clouds. These clouds can be moved by the air currents and precipitate at any territories. The process of precipitation differs according to the peculiarities of the water state.

Thus, water can precipitate as snow or hail. In this case, it may form the glaciers and the snow masses in the mountainous regions. That water which falls down as rains can evaporate from the surface, flow into the rivers and oceans or seep into the ground. At this stage, the path of a water molecule can have many variants.

Thus, the process of precipitation is the way of a water molecule’s returning back to the surface of the Earth and then to the ocean (Harman). When water is on the surface it can infiltrate into the ground and form the underground reservoirs of water or it can cause the formation of freshwater springs. However, the most amount of water flows from the surface back into the oceans.

Major Ocean Current Systems and Their Impact on Climate

Ocean current systems are influential for forming the peculiarities of the climate at the territories near the oceans. The ocean current system is a continuous movement of the water. This movement has its special direction which influences the type of the ocean current according to the level of its warmth.

Thus, if the ocean current has its origins in the tropical territories and it is directed to the higher regions, this current is warm and influences the climate making it milder (Sondergard). Those ocean currents which are directed from the polar territories are cold. The movement of an ocean current depends on such factors as the wind, gravity, and the features of the shoreline.

The major warm ocean currents in the world are the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean which influences the northern Europe and the Kuroshio Current in the Pacific Ocean. They have their origins at the tropical territories, and they move the warm water from these regions to the higher latitudes. The warm ocean currents accumulate the heat energy and preserve the warmth of the water.

The air under these ocean currents is warmer than under the rest of the water masses because of the process of evaporation. The wind transports the warm air to the continent or islands and makes climate temperate or mild because of the temperature of the air and because of the air masses’ moisture. Thus, warm ocean currents influence the climate making it milder in comparison with the climate of the other territories located at the same latitude (Marshall and Plumb).

The Labrador Current and the California Current are the most significant cold ocean currents which affect the climate of the nearby territories. The air masses under these currents are cold, and as a result of their movement, these masses make the climate of the regions colder.

Today, the problem of global warming is also discussed in connection with the effect of the ocean currents on the climate because of the process of global warming which can influence the changes of the ocean currents’ temperature, and in their turn, these changes can be irreversible for the climate of the territories (Marshall and Plumb).

The Layers of the Atmosphere the Atmosphere’s Effects on Weather

The phenomenon of weather is closely connected with the notion of atmosphere which peculiarities affect the weather directly. The atmosphere is a special gaseous layer which surrounds the Earth, and it remains stable because of the gravity effect. Atmosphere protects the Earth from the influence of the ultraviolet radiation. It contains several layers and definite intermediate layers which differ in their place and functions. These main layers are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and exosphere.

The troposphere is the layer which is located close to the surface of the Earth and influences the peculiarities of the weather in this or that region. The troposphere starts at the level of the sea, and its extension is different above the poles and near the equator. Thus, it can extend up to 9-10 miles above the Earth.

This layer is extremely important for people because it contains the necessary atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, and it also affects the changes of the weather with the help of water vapor. Thus, the air in the part of the troposphere which is closer to the Earth is warmer than the air within the higher parts of the layer.

The next important layer of the atmosphere is the stratosphere. It expands up to 30 miles. The main peculiarity of the stratosphere is the ozone layer which is at the top of the stratosphere. The significance of the ozone layer is in the fact ozone can capture the harmful ultraviolet rays and radiation and preserve the surface of the Earth from its impact. The changes in the thickness of the ozone layer caused by carbon dioxide can affect the changes in the climate and global warming.

The mesosphere is the coldest layer within the atmosphere, and it expands from 30 miles up to 50 miles above the Earth. It is the layer where meteors burn up while entering the atmosphere. The next layer is the thermosphere which is rather unique in its qualities because there are the highest temperatures in this layer, but they cannot be usually determined because of the fact the gas molecules are too far apart from each other.

This low density of molecules makes the temperature which can be up to 2,700 °F undefined. The International Space Station is located within the mesosphere. The exosphere is the highest layer in which molecules are extremely apart from each other. The distances between them can be measured in miles. The gases which form this layer are hydrogen and helium (Marshall and Plumb).

The Impact of Erosion, Mass Wasting, Streams, Oceans and Glaciers on the Process of Shaping the Land

Erosion is the destructive process which influences the shapes of the land with the help of such factors as the wind, rain, and the water streams. Thus, erosion is the movement of the land and rocks from one location to the other territory. Erosion is considered as the natural process which is predominantly affected by the natural factors, but today the harmful human’s activity is also can be discussed as the significant factor for the development of the processes of erosion at the definite territories (Thompson and Turk).

There are several types of erosion which differs according to the influential factor which can be the wind or water. Thus, the erosion of the land can be caused by the hydraulic processes and by such phenomena as rainfalls, floods, and the movement of the water in rivers and streams. Discussing the erosion effects caused by the power of water, it is important to concentrate on the effect of the ocean water which also can shape the land.

The massive waves which are caused by the winds and air currents shape the shorelines and the coasts. If the ocean causes the shorelines, water streams and rivers on the surface of the land are the main causes for creating not only the special land formations within the valleys but also for the underground caves. Moreover, when water streams and rivers are influenced by the powerful winds they can also contribute to the formation of canyons (Fletcher).

The impact of glaciers on the shape of the land also can be associated with the water erosion. The erosion caused by glaciers depends on the process of abrasion. Glaciers shape the land as a result of their massiveness and the process of glaciers’ movement. When a glacier moves it can affect the crush of any landform which is in the path of a glacier’s movement.

Moreover, glaciers can influence the ground which is below them also as a result of their formation and movement. The movement of the glacier often results in forming valleys which are the most typical effect of the glacier erosion. However, the glacier erosion can also cause the formation of hills, moraines, and definite eskers (Spellman and Price-Bayer).

Mass wasting is also an important process in shaping the land which is caused by the movement of the soil and rock. This process can be rapid and slow depending on its reasons. The most hazardous type of mass wasting is landsliding which is affected by the rapid movement of rocks and soil. It is important to note that the slow types of mass wasting are possible to be controlled.

Works Cited

Berner, Elizabeth Kay and Robert A. Berner. Global Environment: Water, Air, and Geochemical Cycles. USA: Princeton University Press, 2012. Print.

Fletcher, Charles. Physical Geology: The Science of Earth. USA: Wiley, 2010. Print.

Harman, Rebecca. The Water Cycle: Evaporation, Condensation and Erosion. USA: Heinemann-Raintree, 2005. Print.

Marshall, John and Alan Plumb. Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics: An Introductory Text. USA: Academic Press, 2007. Print.

Sondergard, Steven E. Climate Balance: A Balanced and Realistic View of Climate Change. USA: Tate Publishing, 2009. Print.

Spellman, Frank R. and Joni Price-Bayer. The Handbook of Nature. USA: Government Institutes, 2011. Print.

Thompson, Graham R. and Jon Turk. Earth Science and the Environment. USA: Brooks Cole, 2006. Print.