What is the meaning of hydrosphere?
Even though the amount of water in the hydrosphere is constant, it is unevenly distributed in the planet. We find it in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, glaciers, groundwater aquifers, and as water vapour; as well, water is an essential part of living beings.
The hydrosphere can be defined as the combined mass of water found in the Earth. Water is found in different physical states (solid, liquid and gas), making up the water cycle, regulating climate, shaping relief and making life possible in the planet.
Hydrosphere (Source: Pixabay)
The hydrosphere includes the following types of waters:
- Lotic systems: rivers and streams, always moving over the Earth's crust.
- Lentic systems: still bodies of water, such as lake and ponds.
- Groundwater: water beneath the Earth's surface.
- Atmosphere: water vapour (clouds).
- Frozen water bodies: waters in solid state located in the polar ice caps and mountain tops.
The hydrosphere covers almost three fourths of the surface of the Earth. 97% of it is salt water in seas and oceans, and the rest is mainly made up of freshwater in the atmosphere and in the continents (ice, groundwater, lakes, reservoirs, swamps, rivers and living beings).