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Atmospheric Water

Rain gauges are the traditional method for measuring precipitation.

However, different approaches must be used to compensate for shortcomings in data coverage
and reliability.
Lately, radar or satellite-GIS have been used to provide near-real-time precipitation estimates.
Transpiration is the process by which the soil moisture taken up by a plant root system is
eventually evaporated.
Due to the difficulty in determining them separately, the combined effect of evaporation and
transpiration is generally taken together as evapotranspiration.
Infiltration is defined as the downward movement of water through soil.
The rate of infiltration is directly influenced by the physical characteristics of the soil, soil cover,
moisture content of the soil, soil temperature, precipitation rate, and rainfall intensity.
When precipitation rate > infiltration capacity, surface runoff will occur.
Runoffis that portion of rainfall that does not infiltrate into the soil.
As the soil becomes saturated, less infiltration will take place.
A graph of streamflowis called a hydrograph. The shape of the hydrograph is influenced by the
storm and watershed characteristics.
Groundwater is an extremely important source of water.
It is not subject to the same evaporation rates as surface water (rivers or lakes).
Aquifers are composed of materials in the subsurface (soil, void space and water).


In unconfined aquifers, the groundwater is in contact with the atmosphere through the pores of
the overlaying soil.
In confined aquifers there is an aquitardon top (layer with very low permeability)

Basin Characteristics

With uniform basin characteristics and rainfall, larger basins result in a larger volume of runoff.
Uniform coverage is unusual, so runoff is determined by the part of the basin that receives the
rainfall, this is known as the contributing area.
For basins of equal area but different shapes, a long narrow basin will result in a hydrograph that
has a lower peak flow and is spread out over a longer time when compared with a rounder basin
When compared to a relatively flat basin, a steeply sloped basin will result in a stream response
that is faster and has a higher peak flow
Stream density is the length of all the channels in a basin divided by the basin area
High stream density indicates a basin with numerous tributaries and faster, more efficient runoff
When compared to a stream channel with rough surfaces (lots of rocks and vegetation), a smooth
stream channel will result in a stream response that is faster and has a higher peak flow.
Urbanization results in increases in both the amount and the speed of runoff.
Urban features break natural basins and may create sub-basins which will be smaller than the
original basin.
A smaller basin reacts more quickly to rainfall