Earth  ID: 3811

Components of the Water Cycle on a Flat Map

Climate describes an aggregated view of regional or planetary temperature, air pressure, precipitation, and other meteorological conditions. In other words, climate describes the planet's generalized state-of-being. Heat exchange, precipitation, atmospheric chemistry and many other details all play a role in determining what regional or global climate conditions may be at any given time. But one thing's clear: water regulates the works. In various forms, water stores heat during the day and releases it at night. Tropical waters flow towards the poles, circulating heat around the planet. Ice crystals in the form of clouds reflects sunlight back into space. The images below portray different aspects of the planet's water cycle, broken into independent layers. Data used for many of the scenes shown here come from several computer models, including GEOS-5, and the ECCO General Circulation model.

Story Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC)
Tom Bridgman (GST)

Matthew Rodell (UMBC)
William Putman (NASA/GSFC)
Dimitris Menemenlis (NASA/JPL CalTech)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio This is a contribution of the Consortium for Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program

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Data Used:
GEOS-5 Atmospheric Model on the Cubed-Sphere
Sea Surface Temperature

This item is part of these series:
Earth Science Week

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Aerosols
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Phenomena
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Water Vapor
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Precipitation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Water Vapor >> Precipitable Water
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Water Vapor >> Water Vapor
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Precipitation >> Precipitation Amount
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Precipitation >> Rain
SVS >> Copenhagen
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version