Water Affects Climate

Water affects the climate in many ways. One of the most important of them is through the hydrologic cycle. The hydrologic cycle is the circulation of water molecules from the earth's surface to the atmosphere and back again. The hydrologic cycle is powered by the sun, which heats the earth, turning water on the surface to water vapor. The water vapor then rises into the atmosphere, where it condenses and falls back to the earth as rain. Local and seasonal variations in the hydrologic cycle can have a major effect on climate.

The world's oceans also have a major effect on climate. Water has a higher specific heat than land, which means that it is more resistant to changes in temperature than is land. Thus, the fact that the majority of the earth is covered in water helps to keep temperatures stable worldwide. Moreover, the high specific heat of water affects local climates. Regions of land that are close to water tend to have warmer winters and cooler summers. Regions of land that are farther from water tend to have cold winters and hot summers.

Because water is so important to climate, the rise in temperature caused by global warming will affect the earth's oceans and water supply. At the same time, water on the earth affects the pace of climate change.

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