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AOM 4346 - BASIC HYDROLOGIC CONCEPTS As discussed last time -- hydrologic cycle describes the continuous circulation of water from land and sea to the atmosphere and back again. The concept is based on mass balance and is simply that water changes state and is transported in a closed system which extends approximately 1 km down into the earth’s crust and 15 km up into the atmosphere. The hydrologic cycle is closed only globally, not on a watershed or continental scale. Thus practicing hydrologists are typically faced with an open system. Also, as we discussed last time, hydrologic phenomena (precipitation, ET, infiltration, groundwater, overland, streamflow) are extremely complex and although quantifiable at lab scale, may never be fully predictable at the watershed scale. Thus we represent them in a simplified way by means of the systems concept. Definition: A hydrologic system is defined as a structure (surface or subsurface) or volume (atmospheric) in space, surrounded by a boundary, that accepts water and other inputs (such as air or heat energy), operates (physical, chemical, biological) on them internally and produces them as outputs. It represents flow paths though the system. Thus we treat the hydrologic cycle as a system whose components are precipitation, evapotranspiration, interception, runoff, infiltration, etc. . We give up the quest to know
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2012 for the course AOE 4643 taught by Professor Graham during the Fall '11 term at University of Florida.

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