Geography A-Level - Physical - Variations in the Water Cycle

  • Created by: Noah_S
  • Created on: 26-10-21 13:31
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  • Variations in the Water Cycle
    • Physical Factors
      • Precipitation
        • Intense storms will generate more precipitation and greater peak discharges
        • Larger inputs into a drainage basin will increase the size of flows and stores of water
        • If the input is too great for the rate of some flows, it might cause other affects in the drainage basin
          • If the rate of infiltration isn't high enough, surface runoff will increase
      • Seasonal Changes
        • The size of inputs, flows and stores will vary with the seasons
        • During winter, the ground might become frozen, storing frozen water. When temperatures increase, it will melt the frozen water and increase flows briefly
          • Can cause flash floods during Spring
        • Moist air, when cooled, can release precipitation, as cool air cannot hold as much water
      • Vegetation
        • Plants causes interception and evapotranspiration in a drainage basin
        • Vegetation intercepts and slows movement to a river channel when there is lots of vegetation, and when deciduous trees have their leaves
          • A lack of vegetation will mean some flows and stores will increase like surface processes
        • More vegetation will increase the evapotranspiration in the area
          • More vegetation will reduce the surface runoff of a drainage basin, and the peak discharge of a river
    • Human Activity
      • Land Use Changes
        • Deforestation reduces interception by vegetation
        • Dead plant material in forested areas help to hold the water, allowing it to infiltrate
          • Deforestation will remove this material, causing the rate of infiltration to decrease
        • Construction of buildings and roads create impermeable surfaces, preventing infiltration
          • Massively increases surface runoff, increasing the risk of flooding
      • Farming Practices
        • Farming practices can affect infiltration rates, which affects surface runoff
        • Ploughing breaks up the surface, increasing infiltration rates
        • Crops increase infiltration and interception rates compared to bare ground, however it will reduce this when crops are not planted
          • Evapotranspiration will also increase when crops are planted
        • Livestock compacts the soil, decreasing infiltration
        • Irrigation can decrease infiltration, and also will impact groundwater or river levels if the water is extracted for irrigation
      • Water Abstraction
        • Water abstracted for populations will reduce the amount of water in stores
        • Abstraction is increased during dry seasons for consumption and irrigation, depleting stores further


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