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TERMS IN HYDROLOGY

2019
D

A
B

E
C

The Hydrological Cycle is the continuous movement of water on the


Earth between the atmosphere (air), lithosphere (rocks) and
biosphere (plants and animals). It is powered by the Sun
DRAIN BASIN

E Source - The beginning of the River.

A Confluence - Where two rivers meet.

Watershed - An area of high land


D between two drainage basins.

Mouth - Where a river flows into a lake


or the sea.
B
Tributary - A small river or stream that
flows into a larger river.

Drainage Basin - The area drained by a


C
river and its tributaries.
G F

E
B
C

A
D
• EVAPORATION: IS THE PROCESS BY WHICH LIQUID WATER IS TRANSFORMED INTO WATER
VAPOUR/GAS.

• EVAPOTRANSPIRATION: IS THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MOISTURE REMOVED BY EVAPORATION AND


TRANSPIRATION FROM VEGETATED LAND SURFACE.

• RIVER DISCHARGE: IS THE VOLUME OF WATER IN A RIVER PASSING A MEASURING POINT IN A


GIVEN TIME. IT IS CALCULATED BY MULTIPLYING THE VELOCITY OF THE RIVER BY THE CROSS-
SECTIONAL AREA OF THE RIVER AT THE MEASURING POINT. IT IS MEASURED IN CUBIC METRES PER
SECOND, OR CUMECS.

• INTERCEPTION: IT THE PROCESS BY WHICH RAINDROPS ARE PREVENTED FROM FALLING DIRECTLY
ON TO THE SOIL SURFACE BY THE PRESENCE OF A LAYER OF VEGETATION. WATER IS INTERCEPTED
BY PLANT LEAVES, STEMS AND BRANCHES.
• SURFACE STORAGE: TOTAL VOLUME OF WATER HELD ON THE EARTH SURFACE FOR E.G. IN PUDDLES, LAKE,,
WETLAND.
• GROUND WATER: WATER THAT COLLECTS UNDERGROUND IN THE PORE SPACES IN SOIL AND ROCK. WHEN IT
FILLS ALL THE PORE SPACES AVAILABLE, THE ROCK OR SOIL IS SAID TO BE SATURATED. THIS WATER CAN BE
TRANSFERRED SLOWLY THROUGH ROCK AS GROUNDWATER FLOW OR BASE FLOW.

• CHANNEL STORAGE: THE VOLUME OF WATER AT A GIVEN TIME IN THE CHANNEL IN A DRAINAGE BASIN.

• FLOW: MOVEMENT OF WATER FROM ONE STORE TO ANOTHER.

• THROUGHFLOW: IS THE WATER WHICH MOVES DOWNSLOPE THROUGH THE SUBSOIL. IT IS EFFECTIVE WHERE
FURTHER DOWNWARD PERCOLATION OR INFILTRATION IS PREVENTED BY UNDERLYING IMPERMEABLE ROCK. IN
HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE IT TRANSFERS WATER FROM THE SOIL STORAGE ZONE TO THE CHANNEL AT A MUCH
SLOWER RATE THAN OVER FLOW.
• THROUGHFALL: IS THE WATER WHICH DRIPS OFF THE LEAVES OF TREES DURING A RAINSTORM AND IT OCCURS
WHEN THE AMOUNT OF RAIN WHICH FALLS ON THE INTERCEPTION LAYER OF THE TREE CANOPY HAS
EXCEEDED THE CAPACITY OF THE LEAVES TO HOLD WATER.

• STEMFLOW: IS THE WATER WHICH RUNS DOWN THE STEMS AND BRANCHES OF PLANTS AND TREES DURING
AND AFTER A RAINSTORM IN ORDER THAT IT CAN REACH THE GROUND SURFACE. IT TAKES PLACE AFTER
INTERCEPTION HAS OCCURRED.

• OVERLAND FLOW: A THIN LAYER OF WATER FORMS ON THE SURFACE AND IT BEGINS TO MOVE DOWNSLOPE
UNDER GRAVITY. SOME OF THIS WATER ACCUMULATES IN SMALL SURFACE DEPRESSION (SURFACE STORAGE)
AND LATER OVERFLOW WHEN FULL. THIS OCCUR WHEN RAINFALL INTENSITY ON A SLOPE BEING GREATER
THAN THE RATE AT WHICH THE WATER INFILTRATE INTO THE SOIL ON THE SLOPE.

• INFILTRATION: IS THE PASSAGE OF WATER INTO A SOIL, WHERE WATER IS DRAWN INTO THE SOIL BY GRAVITY
AND CAPILLARY ATTRACTION, INFILTRATION RATE TAKES PLACE AT A HIGHER RATE AT THE START OF A
RAINSTORM. WHEN DO YOU THINK INFILTRATION RATE WILL FALL?
• IT DEPENDS ON ANTECEDENCE MOISTURE/SOIL MOISTURE STORAGE (WET VS DRY SOIL), SOIL TYPES (CLAY VS
SAND) AND ROOTS OF PLANT.
• PERCOLATION: THE DOWNWARD VERTICAL MOVEMENT OF WATER WITHIN A SOIL. THE WATER
THEN ENTERS THE GROUNDWATER STORE. THE RATE OF PERCOLATION DEPENDS ON THE SIZE
OF THE PORES THROUGH WHICH THE WATER TRAVELS. (SANDY VS CLAYEY SOIL)
• BASEFLOW: GROUND WATER CAN BE TRANSFERRED SLOWLY THROUGH ROCK AS
GROUNDWATER FLOW OR BASE FLOW.
• WATER TABLES: IN A ROCK WHEN ALL PORE SPACES ARE FULL, THERE IS A ZONE CREATED
WHICH IS SAID TO BE SATURATED (WATERLOGGED); THE UPPER BOUNDARY OF THIS LAYER IS
KNOWN AS THE WATER TABLE. THE WATER TABLE WILL MOVE UP AND DOWN, DEPENDING
ON THE SUPPLY OF WATER FROM ABOVE AND THE AMOUNT OF EVAPORATION FROM THE
ROCK AND SOIL.
• RECHARGE: THE FILLING OF WATER IN PORES WHERE WATER HAS BEEN DRIED UP OR
EXTRACTED (TAKEN OUT) BY HUMAN ACTIVITIES.
• SPRINGS: EMERGENCE OF UNDERGROUND WATER AT THE GROUND SURFACE. IT MAY TAKE A VARIETY OF
FORMS:
• -SEEPAGE OCCUR WHERE THERE IS A PATCH OF DAMP GROUND, A WEAK LOCALIZED FLOW OF WATER
FORMING A SMALL STREAM, EMERGENCE OF A RIVER OF SOME SIZE CALLED A RESURGENCE.
• WHEN OCCUR:
• -PERMEABLE ROCK (LIMESTONES) UNDERLINES IMPERMEABLE ROCK (CLAY), WATER PASS THROUGH THE
PERMEABLE ROCK CANNOT PENETRATE DOWNWARDS ANY FURTHER, AND SO HAS TO REEMERGE.
• -A SPRING MAY ALSO APPEAR WHERE THE WATER TABLE REACHES THE SURFACE.
• HYDROGRAPH: A GRAPH WHICH SHOWS VARIATIONS IN RIVER DISCHARGE, IN CUBIC METRES PER SECOND,
OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. IT CAN BE PLOTTED FOR A PERIOD RANGING FROM A FEW HOURS TO SEVERAL
MONTHS OR EVEN FOR A YEAR.
• PRECIPITATION: WATER IN ANY FORM WHICH FALLS FROM THE ATMOSPHERE TO THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH. IT
INCLUDES RAINFALL, SNOW, SLEET AND HAIL.
• RAINFALL INTENSITY: REFERS TO THE RATE AT WHICH RAINFALL FALLS WITHIN A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME. LOW
INTENSITIES OF RAINFALL, SOMETIMES CALLED DRIZZLE, TEND TO HAVE LONGER PERIODS OF DURATION. HIGH
INTENSITY RAINFALL PERIODS TEND TO HAVE A SHORTER DURATION, AS IN THE CASE OF A THUNDERSTORM.
• ANTECENDENT MOISTURE: THE AMOUNT OF MOISTURE PRESENT IN THE SOIL AT THE BEGINNING
OF A STORM EVENT
• DRAINAGE BASIN: IS THE CATCHMENT AREA FROM WHICH A RIVER SYSTEM OBTAINS ITS SUPPLIES
OF WATER. PRECIPITATION FALLS OVER THE AREA BOUNDED BY THE MAJOR WATERSHED, AND
WATER MAKES ITS WAY EITHER OVER THE GROUND SURFACE OR BY THE UNDERGROUND ROUTES
TO THE VARIOUS STREAMS WHICH THEN CONVERGE TO FORM THE MAIN RIVER.
• POROSITY: REFERS TO THE AMOUNT OF AREA BETWEEN THE PARTICLES OF A ROCK, I.E. PORE
SPACES & THE SIZE AND ALIGNMENT OF THEM DETERMINES HOW MUCH WATER CAN BE STORED
OR CAN PASS THROUGH THE ROCK. SATURATION OCCURS WHEN ALL THE PORE SPACES ARE FULL
OF WATER. E.G. POROUS ROCK –CLAY AND NOT POROUS E.G. CLAY
• PERMEABILITY: A DESCRIPTION OF A SUBSTANCE THAT ALLOWS WATER TO PASS THROUGH IT.
• -POROUSITY * SEE ABOVE.
• -PERVIOUS –WHERE ROCKS HAVE JOINTS/FISSURES ALONG WHICH WATER CAN FLOW, E.G.
LIMESTONE, WHICH HAS JOINTS AND BEDDING PLANES WIDENED BY SOLUTION.
• ANSWER THE QUESTIONS BELOW:
• WHAT ARE FACTORS WHICH AFFECT THE RATE OF EVAPORATION?
• HOW ARE GROUND WATER TRANSFERRED INTO THE RIVER?
• WHEN IS THROUGHFLOW MOST EFFECTIVE?
• WHEN WILL OVERLAND FLOW OCCUR?
• WHEN IS THE INFILTRATION RATE THE GREATEST AND LEAST?
• DESCRIBE THE RISE AND FALL OF THE WATER TABLE.
• DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LOW AND HIGH PRECIPITATION INTENSITY.
• GIVE EXAMPLES OF POROUS AND NON-POROUS.
• LIMESTONES IS AN RESISTANCE ROCK. WHEN CAN IT BECOME PERVIOUS ROCK?