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The water cycle has no starting point, but we'll begin in the oceans, since that is where most of Earth's water exists. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air; a relatively smaller amount of moisture is added as ice and snow sublimate directly from the solid state into vapor. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere, along with water from evapotranspiration, which is water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. The vapor rises into the air where cooler temperatures cause it to condense into clouds.

 The water cycle has no starting point, but we'll begin in the oceans, since that is where most of Earth's water exists. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air; a relatively smaller amount of moisture is added as ice and snow sublimate directly from the solid state into vapor. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere, along with water from evapotranspiration, which is water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. The vapor rises into the air where cooler temperatures cause it to condense into clouds.

 Air currents move clouds around the globe, and cloud particles collide, grow, and fall out of the sky as precipitation. Some precipitation falls as snow and can accumulate as ice caps and glaciers, which can store frozen water for thousands of years. Snow-packs in warmer climates often thaw and melt when spring arrives, and the melted water flows overland as snowmelt. Most precipitation falls back into the oceans or onto land, where due to gravity, the precipitation flows over the ground assurface runoff. A portion of runoff enters rivers in valleys in the landscape, with streamflow moving water towards the oceans. Runoff, and groundwater seepage, accumulate and are stored as freshwater in lakes.

Not all runoff flows into rivers, though. Much of it soaks into the ground as infiltration. Some of the water infiltrates into the ground and replenishes aquifers, which store huge amounts of freshwater for long periods of time. Some infiltration stays close to the land surface and can seep back into surface-water bodies (and the ocean) as groundwater discharge, and some groundwater finds openings in the land surface and emerges as freshwater springs. Yet, more groundwater is absorbed by plant roots to end up as evapotranspiration from the leaves. Over time, though, all of this water keeps moving, some to reenter the ocean, where the water cycle "ends."

Source: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesummary.html

Source: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/

    The cycle is the continuous circulation of water from land and sea to the atmosphere and back again. Water evaporates from oceans, lakes, and rivers into the atmosphere. This water later precipitates as rain or snow onto the land where it evaporates or runs off into streams and rivers; or it infiltrates (seeps) into the soil and rock from which some is transpired back into the atmosphere by plants. The remainder becomes groundwater, which eventually seeps into streams or lakes from which it evaporates or flows to the oceans. The links below provide more information on the water cycle.

    Source: http://www.liwc.org/education/the-water-cycle/

    Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Water/

    Source: http://www.scwa.com/assets/1/7/water_cycle_rev_11.PDF

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    Table of Contents

    State of the Aquifer, Long Island, New York - Introduction

    Location and Physical Setting

    Freshwater

    1. Hydrolgeologic Units
    2. Fresh and Saltwater Relations/Interactions

    State of the Aquifer System

    1. Precipitation
    2. NWIS - the USGS Data Archive 
    3. Surface Water - Streamflow
    4. Groundwater Levels
    5. Water Table and Surface Maps
    6. Water Use
    7. Groundwater Budget
    8. Inflow to the Groundwater System
    9. Outflow from the Groundwater System
    1. Case Studies

    Interactive Content