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EARTH SCIENCE > CLIMATE INDICATORS > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE INDICATORS

Definition:
Terrestrial - related to the Earth, A hydrosphere is the total amount of water on a planet. The hydrosphere includes water that is on the surface of the planet, underground, and in the air. A planet's hydrosphere can be liquid, vapor, or ice.

On Earth, liquid water exists on the surface in the form of oceans, lakes and rivers. It also exists below ground as groundwater, in wells and aquifers. Water vapor is most visible as clouds and fog.

The frozen part of Earth's hydrosphere is made of ice: glaciers, ice caps and icebergs. The frozen part of the hydrosphere has its own name, the cryosphere.

Water moves through the hydrosphere in a cycle. Water collects in clouds, then falls to Earth in the form of rain or snow. This water collects in rivers, lakes and oceans. Then it evaporates into the atmosphere to start the cycle all over again. This is called the water cycle.


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