Oliphant, Andrew J. Department of Geography and Human Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.
- Measurement and modeling of hydroclimates
- Hydroclimates and humans
- Hydroclimate change and the future
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
As our understanding of the Earth's physical and biological systems has grown, it has become increasingly obvious that processes and patterns of the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere are dynamically linked over many space and time scales. This is very much the case for the Earth's climate and hydrologic (water) cycle. There is about 12,900 km3 of water (in all three phases) in our atmosphere. While this is a relatively small portion of the total global freshwater (∼0.04%), it has large turnover rates (∼495,000 km3 per year) because of the rapid cycling through evaporation, condensation, and precipitation and is transported effectively by atmospheric circulations. Atmospheric water also plays a key role in climate modification by absorbing, scattering, reflecting, and emitting radiation. This role is vastly different in the gaseous (water vapor), liquid (cloud droplets), and frozen (ice crystals) forms. Additionally, latent heat is absorbed and released during phase changes of water. Hurricanes (typhoons, tropical cyclones) and thunderstorms gain immense energy from the release of latent heat during condensation and freezing of moist air as it is lifted and cooled. Across the Earth's surface, large water and energy exchanges with the atmosphere occur through the processes of precipitation, evaporation, transpiration, sublimation, and the formation of dew and frost. Additionally, surface water has a large impact on the Earth's climate through albedo (reflectance). Snow and ice have a very high albedo, while oceans and lakes have a very low albedo. Consequently, the growth and shrinking of ice extent is dynamically linked with climate change. Hydroclimatology therefore focuses on the interaction and overlap between climatology and hydrology, including all of the atmospheric and surface components and fluxes of the hydrologic cycle (Fig. 1).
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information