THE HYDROLOGIC CYCLE AND WATER ON EARTH
The amount of water molecules in the earth is constant although the motion of water is continuous. This motion supports processes such as water purification, replenishing the land through precipitation and movement of minerals from one location to another (Kalman, 2009). This article will discuss the hydrologic cycle and the process it triggers to affect land and climate.
Water motion through the hydrologic cycle
Precipitation occurs when water in form of vapor falls on the surface of the earth. This occurs in the form of rain and snow. Once this water falls on the earth’s surface, it undergoes heating and changes form to become gas. This occurs in the water bodies, on the bodies of animals and in plants during transpiration. This is the evaporation process which consequently makes the water molecule light in weight for it to float in the atmosphere. Once in the atmosphere, the water is cooled down and condenses to become liquid in the form of clouds or even fog. It changes from this form into vapor to repeat the process again. This way, water remains in motion throughout (Bronstert, 2005).
Ocean current systems and their impact on climate
One of the major ocean currents is the California current. It moves water from the Gulf of Alaska and feeds the north equatorial current which moves along the equator and moves northward to become the Kurishio current. It flows along the eastern of the Japanese coast, bends towards the east and completes the loop as the north pacific current. This process forms one major current which causes the climate to be cold especially in the Hawaiian Islands, Canada, British Colombia and Southern Canada (Neumann, 1968).
On the Gulf of Alaska is the North pacific current which moves northward along the Alaskan coast through the Aleutian Islands. It combines with the Oyashio current to form the Kurishio current. Another current is South Equatorial current which flows in a similar direction as the North Equatorial current. When the two currents move in the same direction they form the Equatorial counter current which flows in the middle of these two currents into the Mexican coast. It then diverges in the northern to form the California counter current. Other major currents are the East Australian currents which flow westwards in the Antarctica. The south of pacific is dominated by the Peru Current (Neumann, 1968).
The ocean currents cause elnino and lanina in which occur every 2- 12 years. Once these occur, some regions experience excessive rains leading to floods and mudslides. Other experience dry spells which lead to drought periods which may last for more than a year. They also cause the cold climate experienced in areas where cool waters are transported (Carson, 2007).
Layers of the atmosphere and their effect on weather
The atmosphere has been divided into four main layers. The first one is the troposphere which is about 11 kilometers from the earth’s surface. It is the most aerated and misted of all the layers. It makes up the atmosphere in which wildlife can breath, it is where weather is evident because air from the northern hemisphere mingle with air from the southern one. The next layer is the troposphere which has no water vapor or dust existing in it. It does not support life. The next layer is the mesosphere which forms the ozone layer. Its main function is to block ultraviolent sun rays fro reaching the earth’s surface. The topmost layer is the thermosphere which is very hot. These layers serve to absorb heat from the sun and support the hydrologic process without drying up the earth (Carson, 2007).
How natural forces shape the land
Erosion is the process in which loose top soil is moved by water, wind, ice and gravity away from the original location. This eventually leads to changes in shapes of rocks, formation of sand after rock breakage and the minerals inside the rocks are broken. It exposes the inner layers of the earth leading to chemical changes that change their colors, texture and shape (Kalman, 2009).
Mass wasting involves movement of material down hill and in the slopes over a long period of time. This leads to accumulation of sediment on some parts of the earth thus affect the topography. This affects the flow of rivers and the morphological characteristics of the mountains and valleys (Kalman, 2009).
Streams move sediment from higher regions into the lower regions to form columns, arches or even caves. With time these streams develop into rivers which experience meandering due to the sediment that is deposited over time (Kalman, 2009).
Oceans change the shape of the land through the currents and winds. When these forces move the water masses keep moving in a similar direction over a long period of time, the sea line is extended and some of the land is occupied by sea (Lisitzin, 1974).
Glaciers are big masses of river ice that have a slow movement that take bits of the earth with them. They wear away mountains and also cause the formation of valleys on the land surface (Kalman, 2009).
The movement of water on the earth’s surface and atmosphere affect s the ocean currents and climate. This happens due to the changes that occur in the atmosphere and are controlled by heat energy. This defines weather and the processes like erosion which happen on the earth’s surface.
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