Standard Article

Water Bodies

Hydrological Processes

  1. Daniel Caissie1,
  2. Joël Chassé1,
  3. Yerubandi R. Rao2

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.var054.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Caissie, D., Chassé, J. and Rao, Y. R. 2013. Water Bodies . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 6.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Fisheries and Oceans, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

  2. 2

    Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Water bodies play a vital role in our daily lives from water supplies to recreational activities including many ecological benefits. This article provides an overview of most important aspects and processes of lakes, rivers, and estuaries. Lake processes are initially described in terms of morphological, light, and thermal characteristics. Then the heat balance and water movement are presented as they influence mixing and other important lake processes. Rivers and streams are described in terms of catchment hydrology as well as water movements (river hydraulics). As such, water availability and losses are described as well as the type of flow within channels that affects all aspects of the river environment. Estuaries are where both freshwater and saltwater meet. Accordingly, they are also influenced by many factors such as the freshwater runoff, Coriolis force, entrainment, and gravity currents among others, and these factors play a role in the mixing and stratification of estuaries. Therefore, the type of estuaries and related processes are briefly described.


  • water body;
  • lake;
  • river;
  • estuary;
  • physical processes