The Physical Environment
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Chapter 10
The Hydrosphere

A rain shaft pierces a tropical sunset as seen
from Man-of-War Bay,
Tobago, Caribbean Sea . Most of the water
evaporated from the ocean is directly returned by precipitation.
Courtesy NOAA

Water is a critical element that sustains life and drives a variety of environmental processes acting within the Earth system. Though the hydrosphere includes all the water in the earth system, water flows between all the other subsystems of the Earth. In this chapter we'll explore how water is cycled through and its impact on the Earth system.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the chapter you should be able to:


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For Citation: Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
2006. Date visited.

Michael Ritter (

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