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Surface Water

  • By: Tara M. Plewa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Surface water is intrinsic to global, dynamic human activities: population and urban geography, politics, economics, and culture. As global climate change begins to influence the geography of surface water, the world's population must adapt in concert. Surface water is discussed here as a factor shaping the physical and cultural landscape, which includes the geography of surface water, the different surface water types, its effects on the physical environment, and its importance to the activities of humans.

Approximately 70% of the Earth's surface is water. Surface water is an important part of the hydrologic cycle and is defined as water above the surface that collects in oceans, seas, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, springs, wetlands, and glaciers. Water found in the atmosphere or contained in rock beneath ...

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