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Hydrologic Cycle Energy Flux and the Water-Energy Nexus

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The global hydrologic cycle requires massive inputs of energy to evaporate water. The source of energy driving this process is the Sun and the amount of energy required can be estimated by considering the mass of water evaporated on an annual basis and the heat of vaporization (enthalpy) of water. Calculations show that this amount of energy far exceeds energy inputs from human sources. The global hydrologic cycle is just one expression of the effects of solar radiation warming the Earth's surface. Others include wind, ocean currents, and vegetative photosynthesis. We focus on the global hydrologic cycle in order to show water and wastewater professionals a more direct link between energy and water.

Keywords: Hydrologic cycle; energy flux

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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