The Hydrological Cycle. Hydrological Cycle. Definition of Terms. Soils and Water, Spring Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 1

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1 The Hydrological Cycle Water vapor helps warm up the earth Evaporation+Transpiration Chemical Spill Runoff To Oceans Water potential, atmosphere Hydrological Cycle Transpiration, T Atmospheric pool Interception Precipitation, P Evaporation, E E Infiltration SOIL Water potential, soil Surface storage Soil storage, SS Runoff, R Groundwater level BEDROCK Capillary Rise, CR Percolation, Pc Groundwater storage Water Balance: P + CR = R + SS + ET + Pc Definition of Terms Runoff: Part of the precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that appears in surface streams, rivers, drains or sewers. Evapotranspiration (evaporation + transpiration): the process of liquid water becoming water vapor, including vaporization from water surfaces, land surfaces, snow fields and leaf surfaces. Infiltration: flow of water from the land surface into the subsurface. Percolation: The movement of water through the openings in rock or soil that contributes to ground water replenishment. Capillary action: the means by which liquid moves through the porous spaces in soils due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension. Aquifer: a geologic formation that stores and/or transmits water, such as to wells and springs. Use of the term is usually restricted to those water-bearing formations capable of yielding water in sufficient quantity to constitute a usable supply for people's uses. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 1

2 Distribution of World Water 3,800 ml 114 ml (3%) ~ 1 ml ~ 0.5 ml or 1 drop Very dynamic property! SCAN plotter at Monthly Soil Water Index (SWI) for the years Source: Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 2

3 Soils and the Hydrosphere Pool Volume (%) Equivalent depth (m) Residence time Oceans ~4000 y Lakes, and swamps < ~10 y Rivers < ~2 weeks Soil moisture < Up to 1 y Groundwater Up to 10,000 y Ice 2 60 Up to 10,000 y Atmosphere < ~ 10 days Biosphere < ~ 1 week Estimates of the water balance of the world (modified from Freeze and Cherry, 1979) Soil Water (Moisture) Small proportion of water in soil, but relatively large residence time: Enough time for chemical and biological processes to take place. Seasonal influence of soil moisture on climate (memory of the land). Significant effort to measure and model soil moisture at the global scale: Important for agricultural production There appears to be areas in the world where soil water content is closely linked to precipitation. humid semiarid arid The soil is modeled as bucket that stores water until is filled. The excess typically moves downward (percolation). During the growing season the bucket is emptied by water uptake (evapotranspiration). Climate and soil properties (water retention) determines the amount of water in the bucket over the course of the year. Figure 6.16 Generalized curves for precipitation and evapotranspiration for three temperate zone regions: (a) a humid region, (b) a semiarid region, and (c) an irrigated arid region. Note the absence of percolation through the soil in the semiarid region. In each case water is stored in the soil. This water is released later when evapotranspiration demands exceed the precipitation. In the semiarid region evapotranspiration would likely be much higher if ample soil moisture were available. In the irrigated arid region soil, the very high evapotranspiration needs are supplied by irrigation. Soil moisture stored in the spring is utilized by later summer growth and lost through evaporation during the late fall and winter. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 3

4 Rainfall/Evaporation (mm) Precipitation and Evaporation for the New Brunswick Area Evaporation Precipitation 0 1/1/08 3/1/08 4/30/08 6/29/08 8/28/08 10/27/08 12/26/08 Date (month) Figure 6.13 Partitioning of liquid water losses (discharge) and vapor losses (evaporation and transpiration) in regions varying from low (arid) to high (humid) levels of annual precipitation. The example shown assumes that temperatures are constant across the regions of differing rainfall. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) is somewhat higher in the low-rainfall zones because the lower relative humidity there increases the vapor pressure gradient at a given temperature. Evaporation (E) represents a much greater proportion of total vapor losses (ET) in the drier regions due to sparse plant cover caused by interplant competition for water. The greater the gap between PET and ET, the greater the deficit and the more serious the water stress to which plants are subject. (Diagram courtesy of R. Weil) Percolation: Function of Climate and Soil Figure 6.17 Percentage of the water entering the soil that is lost by downward percolation and by evapotranspiration. Representative figures are shown for different climatic regions. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 4

5 Soil Water Potential and Plants Water potential, atmosphere Water potential, soil How do plants get the water to the top of their canopy? Could any mechanism we have learned explain this process? Saturated Conductivity and Trees? Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 5

6 Rooting Depth Source: Canadell, J., R.B. Jackson, J.R. Ehleringer, H.A. Mooney, O.E. Sala, and E.-D. Schulze Maximum rooting depth of vegetation types at the global scale. Oecologia 108: Effect of Compaction on Root Growth Herbivore Diversity and Soils Legend to Figure 2: Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 6

7 Competing Water Uses Soil Climate Limitations to Agriculture Climate driven Soil driven Soil driven Source: Linking Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, and Food Security K. Wiebe. Resource Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Economic Report No Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 7

8 Food Production and Water Requirement A diet of 2,800 calories/person/day requires about 1,000 m 3 of water. Acreages of Irrigated Land Surface Water Withdrawals Withdrawal: water removed from a ground- or surface-water source for use. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 8

9 Groundwater Withdrawals Fresh Water in Aquifers: a Renewable Resource? About 1,500,000 km 3 of fresh water held in aquifers. Much of ground water is fossil water (no-active exchange with the earth surface). Source: Water in a Changing World Issues in Ecology # 9. Main Aquifer Types in the USA Sandstone Sandstone and Carbonate Rocks Carbonate Rocks Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks Source: Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 9

10 Unconsolidated or Semiconsolidated Aquifers Sand and gravel aquifers of alluvial and glacial origin are north of the line of continental glaciation. Semiconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers. Unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers at or near the land surface. Source: Subsidence by Groundwater Pumping Regional Effects of Groundwater Pumping Depletion of groundwater can cause : General subsidence of the surface and compaction, which reduces the storage capacity of the aquifer (ex, San Joaquin Valley). Excess irrigation in may induce the formation of sinkholes and other alterations of the landscape. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 10

11 Subsidence Approximate location of maximum subsidence in the United States. Signs on pole show approximate altitude of land surface in 1925, 1955, and The site is in the San Joaquin Valley southwest of Mendota, California. Crack in the ground near an irrigation canal Subsidence Sinkhole produced by irrigation Figure 6.19 Relationship of the water table and groundwater to water movement into and out of the soil. Precipitation and irrigation water move down the soil profile under the influence of gravity (gravitational water), ultimately reaching the water table and underlying shallow groundwater. The unsaturated zone above the water table is known as the vadose zone (upper right). As water is removed from the soil by evapotranspiration, groundwater moves up from the water table by capillarity in what is termed the capillary fringe. Groundwater also moves horizontally down the slope toward a nearby stream, carrying with it chemicals that have leached through the soil, including essential plant nutrients (N, P, Ca, etc.) as well as pesticides and other pollutants from domestic, industrial, and agricultural wastes. Groundwaters are major sources of water for wells, the shallow ones removing water from the groundwater near the surface, while deep wells exploit deep and usually large groundwater reserves. Two plumes of pollution are shown, one originating from landfill leachate, the other from a chemical spill. The former appears to be contaminating the shallow well. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 11

12 Water Pollution Agriculture, industry and urban areas are the main sources of water pollution. Common water contaminants are: Sediments, Phosphorus, nitrates and sulfates, Pesticides and herbicides. Postcard developed by the Bureau of Land and Water Quality of the State of Maine as part of a campaign to prevent soil erosion. Lecture 7, The Hydrological Cycle 12

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