hydrologic cycle


: the sequence of conditions through which water passes from vapor in the atmosphere through precipitation upon land or water surfaces and ultimately back into the atmosphere as a result of evaporation and transpiration

called also hydrological cycle, water cycle

Examples of hydrologic cycle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dams further disrupt the hydrologic cycle by turning large tracts of forest into reservoirs. Thomas Lovejoy, Foreign Affairs, 10 Feb. 2020 Most development plans for the Amazon were drawn up when the region’s hydrologic cycle was still poorly understood. Thomas Lovejoy, Foreign Affairs, 10 Feb. 2020 But increasingly, California water regulators are struggling to manage supplies for 39 million residents, agriculture and the environment as climate change warps the hydrologic cycle and brings longer-lasting and more severe droughts. Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2023 While your actions contribute to the main goal of raising three key global parameters—the planet’s temperature must hit 8° Celsius, atmospheric oxygen must rise to 14 percent, and oceanic coverage must become sufficient to kickstart the planet’s own hydrologic cycle—this is not a cooperative game. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, 22 July 2022 Whiteway and his colleagues, however, were interested in the role clouds play in the Martian hydrologic cycle. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 29 Dec. 2018 The natural hydrologic cycle keeps the water clean. Sophie Krause, Discover Magazine, 8 Mar. 2016 Our existing aquifers eventually get replenished by rainwater, but these newfound reserves are completely cut off from the hydrologic cycle, according to the paper published in Nature. Breanna Draxler, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2013 But these are all predictions based on ever-evolving computer models trying to gauge how a warmer globe will affect — in terms of feet, if not mere inches — the hydrologic cycle of our lakes. Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hydrologic cycle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hydrologic cycle was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near hydrologic cycle

Cite this Entry

“Hydrologic cycle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrologic%20cycle. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

hydrologic cycle

hy·​dro·​logic cycle
: the series of conditions through which water naturally passes from water vapor in the air to being deposited (as by rain or snow) on earth's surface and finally back into the air especially as a result of evaporation

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