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PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Hydrosphere. C.J. Cox. Hydrosphere. Hydros= latin for water. Hydrosphere Key Concepts. Water Cycle Precipitation Water Balance Humidity, Cooling, Condensation Adiabatic Changes Clouds cumulous, stratus, cirrus, fog . Hydrosphere .

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Hydros= latin for water

hydrosphere key concepts
HydrosphereKey Concepts
  • Water Cycle
  • Precipitation
  • Water Balance
  • Humidity, Cooling, Condensation
  • Adiabatic Changes
  • Clouds
    • cumulous, stratus, cirrus, fog
  • The earth’s water is found as a
    • LIQUID in rivers, lakes, oceans, rain
    • GAS in our atmosphere
    • SOLID in snow and ice
    • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water





the significance of water
The Significance of Water
  • Water is vital to all life, cell growth, photosynthesis and the absorption of nutrients
  • Water is temporarily stored in living beings
the water cycle or hydrologic cycle
The Water Cycle or Hydrologic Cycle
  • The Circulation of water from one part of the earth to another
  • The water of the oceans & the air of the atmosphere combine to deliver enormous quantities of moisture to the land masses
  • Process reliant on the ability of water to change from a liquid state to a vapor
processes of the hydrologic cycle
Processes of the Hydrologic Cycle
  • Evaporation - the transformation of water from a solid or liquid to a gaseous state
  • Condensation - transformation of vapor into a liquid
  • Precipitation - liquid or solid water that falls from the atmosphere to the earth’s surface









types of precipitation
Types of Precipitation
  • convectional precipitation - from a surface heating up (thermal low) with intensity of precipitation
  • frontal precipitation -collision of cold and warm air masses
  • Orographic precipitation- air forced to rise & cool due to landforms
forms of precipitation
Forms of Precipitation
  • Rain
  • snow
  • sleet
  • hail
water balance the balance between the receipt and loss of moisture


retention in the soil


lakes, streams, rivers


evaporation into the air


Water Balancethe balance between the receipt and loss of moisture

Precipitation > Losses = Favorable Water Balance

Precipitation < Losses = Unfavorable Water Balance

factors influencing the water balance
air temperatures

evaporation rates

vegetation cover



relative location to earth’s waters

prevailing winds

mountain barriers


Factors Influencing the Water Balance
geography of water balances
Unfavorable Balances

North Africa


Central Asia

American Southwest

Tropics (10-30)

considerable evaporation

Favorable Water Balances

Equatorial Zone

Polar Regions

Windward sides of Mountains in Prevailing Winds

Desert Belts

Geography of Water Balances
humidity cooling condensation clouds
Humidity, Cooling, Condensation & Clouds
  • Humidity - the amount of water vapor suspended in the air as a gas
    • atmospheric water vapor
  • Relative Humidity - the amount of water vapor present compared to what the air could hold before it rains
humidity cooling condensation clouds21
Humidity, Cooling, Condensation & Clouds
  • Dewpoint - lowering of temperature to reach condensation
    • 100% relative humidity
  • Water Vapor Capacity - how much vapor the air can hold
    • moisture capacity varies with temperature
adiabatic changes
Adiabatic Changes
  • Changes in temperature as air moves upward
  • Rising air expands as it moves upward into levels which have a lower density
    • expansion occurs in the cooling process
  • Descending air moving into an area of greater air density is compressed
    • compression occurs in the warming process
adiabatic changes23
Adiabatic Changes
  • Dry Adiabatic Rate - the rate at which dry (vapor) vertically moving air masses change temperature
    • 5.5 degrees for each 1000 ft.
  • Wet Adiabatic Rate - the rate at which wet (condensed liquid) verticallly moving air masses change temperature
    • 3.2 degrees per 1000 ft.
what is a cloud
What is a Cloud?
  • Suspended condensation droplets in the air
types of clouds
Types of Clouds




rain clouds
Rain Clouds
  • Nimbus = rain
  • Nimbotratus
  • Cumulonimbus
combination clouds
Combination Clouds
  • Stratocumulus
  • Altocumulus
  • Cirrocumulus
combination clouds42
Combination Clouds
  • Nimbostratus
  • Altostratus
  • Cirrostratus
combination clouds43
Combination Clouds
  • Cirrocumulus
  • Cirrostratus
what is fog
What is Fog?
  • Clouds touching the ground
    • usually caused by cold water or cold ground which causes the moisture in the air to condense into droplets
hydrosphere key concepts54
HydrosphereKey Concepts
  • Water Cycle
  • Precipitation
  • Water Balance
  • Humidity, Cooling, Condensation
  • Adiabatic Changes
  • Clouds
    • cumulous, stratus, cirrus, fog