This is a photo of the crashing waves of the ocean. Because the ocean holds so much of the Earth's water, it is the greatest source of evaporated water to the atmosphere.
Click on image for full size
One process which transfers water from the ground back to the atmosphere is evaporation. Evaporation is when water passes from a liquid phase to a gas phase. Rates of evaporation of water depend on factors such as solar radiation, the temperature, humidity, and wind.
Water that is held in lakes and rivers evaporates directly into the atmosphere, but some of the water in the ground may also be returned to the atmosphere by way of evaporation through the soil surface. Of course, the ocean is the greatest source for water evaporated into the atmosphere.
In addition to evaporation, the process of transpiration also transfers water stored in vegetation from the leaves into the atmosphere.
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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!
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