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The amount of water molecules in the earth is constant although the motion of water is continuous. This motion supports processes such as water purification, replenishing the land through precipitation, and movement of minerals from one location to another (Kalman, 2009). This paper will discuss the hydrologic cycle and the process that it triggers to affect land and climate.
Water motion through the hydrologic cycle
Precipitation occurs when water in the form of vapor falls on the earth’s surface. This occurs in the form of rain and snow. Once this water falls on the earth’s surface, it undergoes heating and changes to become gas. This occurs in the water bodies, on the surface of bodies of animals, and in plants during transpiration.
Transpiration is the evaporation process that consequently makes the water molecule light in weight for it to float in the atmosphere. Once in the atmosphere, the water is cooled down and condenses to become liquid forming clouds or fog. The water changes from this liquid form into vapor to repeat the process. This way, water remains in motion continuously (Bronstert, 2005).
Ocean current systems and their impact on climate
One of the major ocean currents is the California current. It moves water from the Gulf of Alaska into the north equatorial current that moves along the equator. Further, this current moves north to become the Kurishio current. It flows along the eastern of the Japanese coast, bends towards the east, and completes the loop as the north pacific current. This process forms one major current that causes the cold climate especially in the Hawaiian Islands, Canada, British Colombia, and Southern Canada (Neumann, 1968).
The North pacific current is found on the Gulf of Alaska. This current moves northwards along the Alaskan coast through the Aleutian Islands. It combines with the Oyashio current to form the Kurishio current. Another current is the South Equatorial current that flows in a similar direction as the North Equatorial current.
When the two currents move in the same direction, they form the Equatorial counter current that flows in the middle of these two currents into the Mexican coast. This then diverges in the north to form the California counter current. Other major currents include the East Australian currents that flow westwards in the Antarctica. The south of the pacific is dominated by the Peru Current (Neumann, 1968).
The ocean currents cause elnino and lanina which occur every 2 to 12 years. Once they occur, some regions experience excessive rains leading to floods and mudslides. Other areas experience dry spells that lead to drought periods that may last for more than a year. They also cause the cold climate experienced in areas where cool waters are transported (Carson, 2007).
Layers of the atmosphere and their effect on weather
The atmosphere can be divided into four main layers. The first one is the troposphere, which is about 11 kilometers from the earth’s surface. It is the most aerated and misted compared to the layers. It makes up the atmosphere in which wildlife can thrive. This is where the weather is evident because air from the northern hemisphere mixes with air from the southern hemisphere.
The next layer is the troposphere, which has no water vapor or dust. This layer does not support life. The other layer is the mesosphere, which forms the ozone layer. Its main function is to block ultraviolent rays from reaching the earth’s surface. The topmost layer is the thermosphere, which is very hot. This layer serves to absorb heat from the sun and supports the hydrologic process without drying up the earth (Carson, 2007).
How natural forces shape the land
Erosion is the process in which loose top soil is moved by water, wind, ice and gravity away from its original location. This eventually leads to changes in shapes of rocks, formation of sand after rock breakage, and the breakage of minerals inside the rocks. Erosion exposes the inner layers of the earth leading to chemical changes that change the colors, texture, and shape of he inner layers (Kalman, 2009).
Mass wasting involves movement of material downhill and along the slopes over a long period. This leads to the accumulation of sediment on some parts of the earth thus affecting the topography. This affects the flow of rivers and the morphological characteristics of the mountains and valleys (Kalman, 2009).
Streams move sediments from higher regions to the lower regions to form columns, arches, or even caves. With time, these streams develop into rivers causing meandering due to the sediment that is deposited over time (Kalman, 2009).
Oceans change the shape of the land through currents and winds. When these forces move, water masses keep moving in a similar direction over a long period. The sea line is extended, and some of the land is occupied by sea (Lisitzin, 1974).
Glaciers are big masses of ice flow that have a slow movement which take bits of the earth with them. They wear away mountains and cause the formation of valleys on the land surface (Kalman, 2009).
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The movement of water on the earth’s surface and atmosphere affect the ocean currents and climate. This happens due to changes in the atmosphere that are controlled by heat energy. This defines weather and the processes like erosion prevalent on the earth’s surface.
Bronstert, A. (2005). Coupled models for the hydrological cycle: Integrating atmosphere, biosphere and pedosphere; with 20 tables. Berlin [u.a.: Springer
Carson, M.K. (2007). Weather projects for young scientists: Experiments and science fair ideas. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
Kalman, B. (2009). What shapes the land? New York: Crabtree Pub.
Lisitzin, E. (1974). Sea-level changes. Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Pub. Co.
Neumann, G. (1968). Ocean currents. Amsterdam [u.a.: Elsevier.