What is a Hydrological Cycle?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

A Hydrological Cycle involves the process by which water flows from the land and ocean surface to the atmosphere and then back again as precipitation. The water cycle is another name for it. Water is a cyclical resource because it is consumed and reused. The hydrological cycle is composed primarily of four processes: evaporation, convection, precipitation, and collection. When the water in rivers, lakes, or the ocean is heated by the sun and turned into vapor or steam, this process is known as evaporation.

Importance of Hydrological Cycle or Water Cycle

70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water but still, the world is facing an acute water crisis. This is because, out of the total water available on earth, 97.5% is saltwater. Of the remaining water, 99% is locked in glaciers and underground sources. So, technically, less than 1% of fresh water is available for human use in the form of rivers, lakes, streams, etc.

The typical system for recycling water on Earth is the hydrological cycle, also known as the water cycle. The water cycle is defined as the continuous circulation of water from the earth to the atmosphere and vice versa which is powered by the energy of the sun. It shows the storage and movement of water between the biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere.

The continuous water flow between life, the oceans, and the subsurface is called the cycle. The hydrologic cycle is initiated by the evaporation of water from the ocean’s surface.

Water Cycle

  • The oceans contain around 71% of the water on the globe.
  • The remaining freshwater is stored in glaciers, ice caps, lakes, groundwater sources, the atmosphere, streams, and living things.
  • The amount of water evaporating off the land’s surface and returning to the atmosphere is about 59%.
  • The remaining surface runoff either seeps into the earth or partially turns into glaciers.

Processes involved in the Hydrological Cycle

Some of the processes are discussed below:

  • Evaporation – Water from oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams evaporates from the sun’s heat and energy. Water remains in a vapor state in the air and forms clouds.
  • Transpiration – Evaporation through the plant surface due to solar energy is known as transpiration. Plants also transfer a huge amount of water into the atmosphere through transpiration.
  • Precipitation – Cloud meets with the cold air in the mountains and above forest regions and condenses to form rain precipitates.
  • Condensation – It is the process by which water vapors in the atmosphere get converted into liquid droplets.
  • Runoff – Water discharged from the surface is known as runoff. If it is discharged through rivers, it is known as river runoff.


What is a Hydrological Cycle?

The continuous movement of water on, above, and below the Earth’s surface is referred to as the Hydrological Cycle, also known as the water cycle or the hydrological cycle. Evaporation and precipitation are the main processes involved in the water cycle. Water evaporates as a result of solar radiation, typically from the ocean, lakes, etc. As a result of transpiration, water also evaporates from plant leaves.

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