Surface Water

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Unit 7: surface water
4:42 — by Greg Prater

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Key Questions

  • The major surface water reservoirs on earth are ice, fresh water, saline water and atmospheric water.

    Water is the basic need of life on planet Earth. Two-thirds of the earth is made up of water, which exists as oceans (saline water), rivers, lakes, and ponds (fresh water), the atmosphere (atmospheric water), and glaciers (ice). The most abundant reservoirs of fresh water are found in the sub-surface of Earth, which are known as aquifers.

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  • Surface water (streams, lakes, oceans, rivers, etc.) are replaced through precipitation. This can be in the form of rain, snow, hail, and so forth. Snow or ice melt also replenish surface water.

    In the image below, precipitation is contributing to the surface water:

    Check out this site to learn about groundwater.

  • surface water either lost into the ground or air by following:


    • main cause is evaporation, stagnant water or even calm waters in hotter climates evaporate from the heat of the sun.
    • winds can also be taken for consideration, if winds blowing on the surface contain little to no humidity they create a relative change in net humidity, this causes water to evaporate to create an equilibrium in its surroundings.


    • water flowing in river channels is absorbed if the groundwater level is below the channel. this is also accurate with lakes and ponds.

    Any piece of land will absorb water provided that the soil contains enough porosity and the rate by which water can move away from the surface through the soil.