Araya, Yoseph Negusse (2005). Hydrosphere. In: Lehr, Jay H and Keeley, Jack eds. Water Encyclopedia. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/047147844X.me216


The hydrosphere [Greek hydor water and sphera sphere] refers to the water on or surrounding the surface of the globe, as distinguished from those of the lithosphere (the solid upper crust of the earth) and the atmosphere (the air surrounding the earth). More specifically, the hydrosphere includes the region that includes all the earth's liquid water, frozen and floating ice, water in the upper layer of soil, and the small amounts of water vapor in the earth's atmosphere. The hydrosphere is the major setting for the earth's hydrologic cycle.
The earth's water has six major reservoirs in which water resides. These include the oceans, the atmosphere (split into two reservoirs, one over the land and one over the oceans), surface water (including water in lakes, streams, and the water held in the soil), groundwater (water held in the pore spaces of rocks below the surface), and snow and ice.
The quality of natural water in the various reservoirs of the hydrosphere depends on a number of interrelated factors. These factors include geology, climate, topography, biological processes, land use, and the time for which the water has been in residence.

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