The Hydrologic Cycle

The hydrologic cycle is the constant movement of water on, below, and beneath the Earth’s surface, as well as in the lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere (Ransom, 2016). On the other hand, the cycle does not affect the volume of water on Earth; rather, it affects the partitions in which it exists. Water moves from the Earth’s surface across the globe and then back to the body in this process. It entails several operations involving the transformation of matter, such as evaporation, melting, and solidification, to transport the cycle mover to all corners of the globe. “Evaporation moves water from the large water bodies and the atmospheric circulation processes transport it around the earth and later released back to the surface as precipitation such as rain, ice or snow. This precipitation continues its motion on land, rivers down to the water masses or even get back to the atmosphere through evaporation.

This paper reviews an article by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on December 18th, 2017. The Article stated that the month of November 2017 was the third warmest month in the past 137 years globally but with a specific reference to America. The relationship between the article and the hydrologic cycle is that the latter causes climatic change such as temperature changes over a certain area.

According to Callery (2017), this year’s November recorded a +0.87 degree Celsius higher than the average monthly temperatures. This was third after the 2016 and 2015 Novembers which recorded an increase of +0.90 and +1.03 degrees Celsius respectively. Since the start of modern day climatic recording, the three months have recorded the highest temperatures ever. This increase in temperatures for the month of November has been linked to the Hydrologic cycle which through the increased evaporation rates from the land, stream flow and water masses, the reduction of water vapor in the atmosphere, irregular precipitation patterns (Callery, 2017).

The hydrologic cycle involves several processes to get the water, transport it and later the water returning to the water tables. To start with, the process is run by the solar energy. The first process is evaporation, whereby molecules break off from the binding forces after gaining sufficient energy and rise into the atmosphere. Transpiration from growing plants is also a source of the water. This vapor or water droplets is then transported by wind or other forces in the atmosphere around the globe. Later there is condensation. This is basically the cooling off of the vapor specifically on particles in the air to become liquid again or in special cases, it condenses to ice or snow. The condensed particles that form clouds also move around the globe propelled by wind currents and factors such as surrounding temperatures (Greenwood & Shroder, 2016). The precipitation falls get back to the ground and finally to the water table and masses as runoff water to be stored in water basin drains. Another way it gets to the water table is through Percolation. This is when snow or ice melts and infiltrates downwards through weak faults, pores or cracks to form the groundwater (Ransom, 2016).

One of the effects of the hydrologic cycle is clearly explained by Callery (2017) as climatic changes bringing about drought, heavy rainfall or temperature changes. For instance, the article cites the cause of the El Nino in 2015 and the increased temperatures that followed after its end as directly caused by the cycle. Precipitation intensity increase is one of the effects. This specifically involves having more rainfall experienced in a very short duration. Historically it has also caused an alteration in the climatic seasons. For instance, it can cause earlier snow melts leading to an earlier arrival of spring which can similarly reduce the accessibility of fresh water during summer and fall seasons (Greenwood & Shroder, 2016). High temperature causes the high rates of evaporation which may lead to severe droughts. While the hydrologic cycle can be traced and predicted, its possibility of change may lead to uncertainties and inconsistencies in predicting the variability of precipitation fall, or drought (Callery, 2017).

According to the article, Callery (2017) illustrates how the hydrologic cycle can affect life. This is all living being on land and in water. She gives an illustration of the November rise in temperatures that lead to the decrease in the green matter in the protected animal habitats such as parks and the reduction of runoff water which basically means less water for animals to drink. She goes on to cite the low water levels in the seas and oceans as well as the water table. This could lead to mass imbalances.

Conclusion

From Callery’s article, it is evident that the hydrologic cycle does not have an end and it is forever in a continuous flow. However, the change of its trend can lead to major climatic events and changes and ultimately affecting life on earth. As evidenced by the increase in November temperatures which also causes a disruption in the seasons. The hydrologic cycle, however, does not lose water but causes an imbalance between the water in the atmosphere and that present in the water masses which it can also lead to drought. The November case gives a clear picture of the cycles effects citing the fact that a rise in temperature affects the water holding capacity of the atmosphere and land.

References

Callery, S. (2017). November 2017 was the third warmest November on record. Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Retrieved 21 December 2017, from https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2666/november-2017-was-the-third-warmest-november-on-record/

Greenwood, G. B., & Shroder, J. F. (2016). Mountain ice and water : investigations of the hydrologic cycle in alpine environments. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Ransom, C. F. (2016). Investigating the water cycle. Minneapolis : Lerner Publications.

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