What is surface runoff in the water cycle?

Surface runoff (also known as overland flow) is the flow of water occurring on the ground surface when excess rainwater, stormwater, meltwater, or other sources, can no longer sufficiently rapidly infiltrate in the soil.

What is the difference between stream flow and surface runoff?

As nouns the difference between runoff and streamflow is that runoff is that portion of precipitation or irrigation on an area which does not infiltrate or evaporate, but instead is discharged from the area while streamflow is the runoff of surface water through a channel.

What is the difference between surface water and runoff water?

Water evaporates from the ocean and land surfaces, is held temporarily as vapour in the atmosphere, and falls back to Earth’s surface as precipitation. Surface water is the residue of precipitation and melted snow, called runoff.

What is the difference between runoff and discharge?

(See also Streamflowand Runoff.) The data in the reports of the Geological Survey on surface water represent the total fluids measured. Thus, the terms discharge, streamflow, and runoff represent water with the solids dissolved in it and the sediment mixed with it. Of these terms, discharge is the most comprehensive.

What causes surface runoff?

Mountains that cannot absorb water from heavy snowfalls produce runoff that turns into streams, rivers, and lakes. Glaciers, snow, and rain all contribute to this natural runoff. Runoff also occurs naturally as soil is eroded and carried to various bodies of water.

Why is surface runoff important to the water cycle?

A portion of the precipitation seeps into the ground to replenish Earth’s groundwater. Most of it flows downhill as runoff. Runoff is extremely important in that not only does it keep rivers and lakes full of water, but it also changes the landscape by the action of erosion.

What is water flow in a stream called?

Streamflow, or channel runoff, is the flow of water in streams, rivers, and other channels, and is a major element of the water cycle. It is one component of the runoff of water from the land to waterbodies, the other component being surface runoff.

What is the difference between the surface water and the groundwater?

Surface water includes any freshwater that’s sent into wetlands, stream systems, and lakes. On the other hand, groundwater exists in subterranean aquifers that are situated underground. Most groundwater is obtained from snowmelt and rainfall that gets into the bedrock via the surrounding soil.

What is called runoff?

Runoff is nothing more than water “running off” the land surface. Just as the water you wash your car with runs off down the driveway as you work, the rain that Mother Nature covers the landscape with runs off downhill, too (due to gravity). Runoff is an important component of the natural water cycle.

What are examples of runoff?

Runoff from nonpoint sources includes lawn fertilizer, car exhaust, and even spilled gasoline from a car. Farms are a huge nonpoint source of runoff, as rainwater and irrigation drain fertilizers and pesticides into bodies of water. Impervious surfaces, or surfaces that can’t absorb water, increase runoff.