What is a hydrologic cycle and what are its processes?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 3rd, 2022

The Hydrological cycle, also known as the “Water Cycle,” implies the continuous water circulation in the Earth-atmosphere system. In other words, it can be defined as the total of all processes in which water moves from the land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere and reaches the earth in the form of precipitation.

Processes of Hydrological Cycle

  • Evaporation: The transfer of water from the earth's surface to the atmosphere, i.e., water in the liquid state is transferred to the gaseous or vapor state.
  • Condensation: Process of transfer of water vapor to a liquid state. Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into liquid.
  • Precipitation: Process in which the condensed vapor falls from clouds in the form of rain, sleet, snow, or hail under gravitational pull.
  • Interception: It refers to the precipitation that does not reach the soil instead intercepted by leaves, branches of plants, and the forest floor.
  • Infiltration: Rainwater infuses into subsurface soils, travels underground, and moves between the soil and rocks.
  • Percolation: Water moves through the soil, into deeper layers, and reaches groundwater.
  • Transpiration: Evaporation of water through minute pores, or stomata, in the leaves of plants.
  • Runoff: Movement of excess rainwater across the land's surface and into nearby creeks, streams, or ponds, which the land cannot absorb.
  • Storage: Water is stored in the atmosphere, on the surface of the Earth, and below ground.


What is a hydrologic cycle and what are its processes?

The hydrologic cycle involves water's continuous circulation in the Earth-Atmosphere system. At its core, the water cycle is the motion of the water from the ground to the atmosphere and back again.


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