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The water, or hydrologic, cycle describes the pilgrimage of water as water molecules make their way from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and back again, in some cases to below the surface. Earth’s water continuously moves through the atmosphere, into and out of the oceans, over the land surface, and underground.
Together, evaporation, transpiration, and sublimation, plus volcanic emissions, account for almost all the water vapor in the atmosphere that isn’t inserted through human activities. After the water enters the lower atmosphere, rising air currents carry it upward, often high into the atmosphere, where the air is cooler. When precipitation falls over the land surface, it follows various routes in its subsequent paths.
This map shows the distribution of water vapor throughout the depth of the atmosphere during August 2010.
Water continually evaporates, condenses, and precipitates, and on a global basis, evaporation approximately equals precipitation. In the case of the oceans, the continual excess of evaporation versus precipitation would eventually leave the oceans empty if they were not being replenished by additional means. Sea level has been rising over the past century, partly due to thermal expansion of the ocean as it warms, and partly due to the melting of glaciers and ice caps. Sea level has risen both because of warming of the oceans, causing water to expand and increase in volume, and because more water has been entering the ocean than the amount leaving it through evaporation or other means.
Blackfoot (left) and Jackson (right) glaciers, both in the mountains of Glacier National Park, were joined along their margins in 1914, but have since retreated into separate alpine cirques. Water molecules can take an immense variety of routes and branching trails that lead them again and again through the three phases of ice, liquid water, and water vapor. Look at the word biogeochemical and see if you can figure out what these cycles are all about.
From those meanings, you could say that biogeochemical is a word that we would describe the connections between plants and animals, the earth, and the chemistry of how they live.
This section is going to take a look some of the ways these chemicals or nutrients are cycled through nature. During photosynthesis, plants combine carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen from water to make carbohydrates. When that plant is eaten, the cells of the animal break down the plant's tissues during digestion. As the animal breathes out (exhales), carbon dioxide is released into the air (atmosphere) and the cycle can begin again.
Free nitrogen - the nitrogen found in the atmosphere, animal wastes, and dead and decaying organisms - is all around. In the nitrogen fixation part of the cycle, nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in the soils and in the roots of certain plants, change (or convert) free nitrogen into substances that other organisms can use.



Just as there are nitrogen-fixing bacteria, some bacteria have the job of denitrifying the soil to keep the nitrogen in balance. As in the first part of the cycle, denitrifying bacteria keep the nitrogen level in the soil balanced.
During photosynthesis, plants use water from the soil, energy from the sun, and carbon dioxide to make simple sugars. Learn more about the biology in soil by visiting this site done by the Bureau of Land Management. This site is best viewed using the newest version of Internet Explorer with the newest version of FlashPlayer. Basements are humid because they are basically a box of porous  concrete (or stone) buried in wet dirt. With a fresh new cover, smaller paperback format, and impulse price, it's now positioned to reach a whole new readership of people perennially hungry for change. This gigantic system, powered by energy from the Sun, is a continuous exchange of moisture between the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land. Most of the remaining 10% found in the atmosphere is released by plants through transpiration.
While evaporation from the oceans is the primary vehicle for driving the surface-to-atmosphere portion of the hydrologic cycle, transpiration is also significant. In the cool air, water vapor is more likely to condense from a gas to a liquid to form cloud droplets.
The boundary between these two zones is known as the water table, which rises or falls as the amount of groundwater changes. Even the wettest regions would form a layer of water only 60 millimeters deep if it were condensed at the surface. Because of this equality, the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere remains approximately the same over time. Not only are they being replenished, largely through runoff from the land areas, but over the past 100 years, they have been over-replenished: sea level around the globe has risen approximately 17 centimeters over the course of the twentieth century. A primary cause for increased mass of water entering the ocean is the calving or melting of land ice (ice sheets and glaciers).
Water at the bottom of Lake Superior may eventually rise into the atmosphere and fall as rain in Massachusetts. For instance, the water molecules that once fell 100 years ago as rain on your great- grandparents’ farmhouse in Iowa might now be falling as snow on your driveway in California. Nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and other nutrients move through ecosystems in a predictable pattern or cycle. The nutrients needed and used by all living things are made up of chemical elements and molecules.
When the fixing process is finished, free nitrogen is converted into nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.


These bacteria take the nitrogen compounds and return them to nitrogen gas that is released back into the atmosphere. That nitrogen returns to the soil as organic material (animal waste, decaying plants and animals) is decomposed by bacteria and other decomposers.
Some of these places include: oceans, ponds, lakes, streams, leaves (needles) of plants, soil, glasses of water, and from your body as you sweat (perspire). To build a basement, a hole  is dug in the floor, and then the walls …are either built or poured  in. Plants take in water through their roots, then release it through small pores on the underside of their leaves. For example, a cornfield 1 acre in size can transpire as much as 4,000 gallons of water every day.
Cloud droplets can grow and produce precipitation (including rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and hail), which is the primary mechanism for transporting water from the atmosphere back to the Earth’s surface.
Almost all of the water eventually flows into the oceans or other bodies of water, where the cycle continues.
It is as if the entire amount of water in the air were removed and replenished nearly 40 times a year. However, over the continents, precipitation routinely exceeds evaporation, and conversely, over the oceans, evaporation exceeds precipitation. Sea ice is already in the ocean, so increases or decreases in the annual amount of sea ice do not significantly affect sea level.
Runoff from the Massachusetts rain may drain into the Atlantic Ocean and circulate northeastward toward Iceland, destined to become part of a floe of sea ice, or, after evaporation to the atmosphere and precipitation as snow, part of a glacier. When these droplets become to heavy and dense to remain in the atmosphere, they fall to the earth. As the sun shines down and provides more energy, water begins its return to the atmosphere. In addition, a very small portion of water vapor enters the atmosphere through sublimation, the process by which water changes directly from a solid (ice or snow) to a gas.
At different stages of the cycle, some of the water is intercepted by humans or other life forms for drinking, washing, irrigating, and a large variety of other uses.
The gradual shrinking of snow banks in cases when the temperature remains below freezing results from sublimation. As a result, it will soak up water like a  sponge, increasing the water table around the basement wall.
When there is  heavy rain, and that soil gets over saturated, the resulting  hydrostatic pressure will push the water against the basement  walls, and it will eventually find its way in.



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