Components of the Water Cycle on a Flat Map

  • Released Tuesday, January 11, 2011
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Water regulates climate, predominately storing heat during the day and releasing it at night. Water in the ocean and atmosphere carry heat from the tropics to the poles. The process by which water moves around the earth, from the ocean, to the atmosphere, to the land and back to the ocean is called the water cycle. The animations below each portray a component of the water cycle.

The three animations of atmospheric phenomena were created using data from the GEOS-5 atmospheric model on the cubed-sphere, run at 14-km global resolution for 25-days. Variables animated here include hourly evaporation, water vapor and precipitation. For more information on GEOS-5 see . For more information on the cubed-sphere work see

The animation of global sea surface temperature was created using data from a model run of ECCO's Ocean General Circulation Model. See for more information on ECCO.

This group of animations are an orthographic view of the data used in Components of the Water Cycle.


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

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, January 11, 2011.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:53 PM EDT.


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.