MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: How much water is evaporated from the earth each day?

Date: Sun May 21 21:22:17 2006
Posted By: In Koo Kim, Physical Atmospheric Chemistry
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1147030216.Es

Earth's hydrologic cycle was reported in a 1989 Scientific American article
(J.W.M. laRiviere, 261 (3), 80-94), which I will summarize here. 
Evaporation takes place over the oceans and continents.  Over the oceans,
this amounts to 425,000 cubic kilometers per year.  Over the continents,
evaporation takes place from bodies of waters like lakes and rivers, but
also directly via transpiration from plants and animals.  Collectively,
continental evapotranspiration amounts 71,000 cubic kilometers per year. 
This gives us a total of 496,000 cubic kilometers of water
evaporated/transpirated from the oceans and continents per year.

To answer your question, roughly 1400 cubic kilometers (1.4 x 10^15 liters)
of water is evaporated each day on earth.  To put this in perspective, this
is about 10,000 times the amount of water consumed by the United States per

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