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174 Global Water Budgets – Fundamental Theory and Mechanisms

Part 15. Global Hydrology

  1. C Adam Schlosser

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa180

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Adam Schlosser, C. 2006. Global Water Budgets – Fundamental Theory and Mechanisms. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 15:174.

Author Information

  1. Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The global water cycle represents the transport and transformation of water within the Earth system, and, in doing so, distributes freshwater over the Earth's surface. The cycling of water in the Earth's system employs water in all three of its phases: solid, liquid, and gaseous. In its coarsest and most conventional depiction, the Earth system's cycling of water is viewed as the continual displacement of water taken from the ocean, transported through the atmosphere, deposited over land, and ultimately fed back to the ocean. However, many processes and pathways are responsible for this global transit and cycling. Therefore, to monitor the global water cycle in the context of all of these key interactions with the global environment requires a comprehensive representation of the budgets and cycling of all phases of water storage. An analytic discussion is provided to elucidate the various mechanisms that contribute to the global transport of water within and between the Earth's atmosphere, land, and ocean systems


  • water;
  • cycle;
  • budget;
  • balance;
  • global;
  • atmosphere;
  • land;
  • ocean