Surface runoff

Runoff flowing into a stormwater drain
Surface runoff from a hillside after soil is saturated
Precipitation washing contaminates into local streams
Urban surface water runoff
Willow hedge strengthened with fascines for the limitation of runoff, north of France.
Soil erosion by water on intensively-tilled farmland.
Farmland runoff
Runoff holding ponds (Uplands neighborhood of North Bend, Washington)

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.

- Surface runoff

500 related topics

Relevance

Urban runoff

Urban runoff flowing into a storm drain
A creek filled with urban runoff after a storm
Flooded streets in New Orleans
Relationship between impervious surfaces and surface runoff
Weasel Brook in Passaic, New Jersey has been channelized with concrete walls to control localized flooding.
An open runoff system in Africa
Oil slick created by runoff
A percolation trench infiltrates stormwater through permeable soils into the groundwater aquifer.
An oil-grit separator is designed to capture settleable solids, oil and grease, debris and floatables in runoff from roads and parking lots

Urban runoff is surface runoff of rainwater, landscape irrigation, and car washing created by urbanization.

Water cycle

Biogeochemical cycle that describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.

Time-mean precipitation and evaporation as a function of latitude as simulated by an aqua-planet version of an atmospheric GCM (GFDL's AM2.1) with a homogeneous “slab-ocean” lower boundary (saturated surface with small heat capacity), forced by annual mean insolation.
Global map of annual mean evaporation minus precipitation by latitude-longitude
Relationship between impervious surfaces and surface runoff
Diagram of the water cycle
Natural water cycle

The water moves from one reservoir to another, such as from river to ocean, or from the ocean to the atmosphere, by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, surface runoff, and subsurface flow.

Channel (geography)

Type of landform consisting of the outline of a path of relatively shallow and narrow body of water or of other fluids , most commonly the confine of a river, river delta or strait.

Vivari Channel in Albania links Lake Butrint with the Straits of Corfu.
Wooden pilings mark the navigable channel for vessels entering Lake George from the St. Johns River in Florida.

Overland flow is a primary factor in channel initiation where saturation overland flow deepens to increase shear stress and begin channel incision.

Snowmelt

Vegetation gives off heat, resulting in this circular snowmelt pattern.
2005 (Less dust)
2006 (More dust)
2008 (Less dust)
2009 (More dust)

In hydrology, snowmelt is surface runoff produced from melting snow.

Nonpoint source pollution

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution refers to diffuse contamination (or pollution) of water or air that does not originate from a single discrete source.

Muddy river
Runoff of soil and fertilizer during a rain storm
Nonpoint source pollution is caused when precipitation (1) carries pollutants from the ground such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) pollutants which come from fertilizers used on farm lands (2) or urban areas (3). These nutrients can cause eutrophication (4).
Contour buffer strips used to retain soil and reduce erosion

Nonpoint source pollution generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage, or hydrological modification (rainfall and snowmelt) where tracing pollution back to a single source is difficult.

Water

Inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent ).

A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom
The three common states of matter
Phase diagram of water (simplified)
Tetrahedral structure of water
Model of hydrogen bonds (1) between molecules of water
Water cycle
Overview of photosynthesis (green) and respiration (red)
Water fountain
An environmental science program – a student from Iowa State University sampling water
Total water withdrawals for agricultural, industrial and municipal purposes per capita, measured in cubic metres (m³) per year in 2010
A young girl drinking bottled water
Water availability: the fraction of the population using improved water sources by country
Roadside fresh water outlet from glacier, Nubra
Hazard symbol for non-potable water
Water is used for fighting wildfires.
San Andrés island, Colombia
Water can be used to cook foods such as noodles
Sterile water for injection
Band 5 ALMA receiver is an instrument specifically designed to detect water in the universe.
South polar ice cap of Mars during Martian south summer 2000
An estimate of the proportion of people in developing countries with access to potable water 1970–2000
People come to Inda Abba Hadera spring (Inda Sillasie, Ethiopia) to wash in holy water
Icosahedron as a part of Spinoza monument in Amsterdam.
Water requirement per tonne of food product
Irrigation of field crops
Specific heat capacity of water

Water moves continually through the water cycle of evaporation, transpiration (evapotranspiration), condensation, precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea.

Infiltration (hydrology)

Process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil.

Cross-section of a hillslope depicting the vadose zone, capillary fringe, water table, and phreatic or saturated zone. (Source: United States Geological Survey.)

If the precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate, runoff will usually occur unless there is some physical barrier.

Soil erosion

Denudation of the upper layer of soil.

An actively eroding rill on an intensively-farmed field in eastern Germany
Soil and water being splashed by the impact of a single raindrop.
A spoil tip covered in rills and gullies due to erosion processes caused by rainfall: Rummu, Estonia
Dobbingstone Burn, Scotland—This photo illustrates two different types of erosion affecting the same place. Valley erosion is occurring due to the flow of the stream, and the boulders and stones (and much of the soil) that are lying on the edges are glacial till that was left behind as ice age glaciers flowed over the terrain.
Árbol de Piedra, a rock formation in the Altiplano, Bolivia sculpted by wind erosion.
Wadi in Makhtesh Ramon, Israel, showing gravity collapse erosion on its banks.
Erosional gully in unconsolidated Dead Sea (Israel) sediments along the southwestern shore. This gully was excavated by floods from the Judean Mountains in less than a year.
Tilled farmland such as this is very susceptible to erosion from rainfall, due to the destruction of vegetative cover and the loosening of the soil during plowing.
In this clearcut, almost all of the vegetation has been stripped from the surface of steep slopes, in an area with very heavy rains. Severe erosion occurs in cases such as this, causing stream sedimentation and the loss of nutrient-rich topsoil.
World map indicating areas that are vulnerable to high rates of water erosion.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Easter Island experienced severe erosion due to deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices. The resulting loss of topsoil ultimately led to ecological collapse, causing mass starvation and the complete disintegration of the Easter Island civilization.
Terracing is an ancient technique that can significantly slow the rate of water erosion on cultivated slopes.
A windbreak (the row of trees) planted next to an agricultural field, acting as a shield against strong winds. This reduces the effects of wind erosion, and provides many other benefits.

Rainfall, and the surface runoff which may result from rainfall, produces four main types of soil erosion: splash erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, and gully erosion.

Surface water

Water located on top of the Earth's surface, and may also be referred to as blue water.

An inland lake, an example of surface water
The entire surface water flow of the Alapaha River near Jennings, Florida going into a sinkhole leading to the Floridan Aquifer groundwater.
A stream gauge used to measure surface water.

In common usage, it is usually used specifically for terrestrial (inland) waterbodies, the vast majority of which is produced by precipitation and runoff from nearby higher areas.

Erosion

An actively eroding rill on an intensively-farmed field in eastern Germany
A natural arch produced by the wind erosion of differentially weathered rock in Jebel Kharaz, Jordan
A wave-like sea cliff produced by coastal erosion, in Jinshitan Coastal National Geopark, Dalian, Liaoning Province, China
Soil and water being splashed by the impact of a single raindrop
A spoil tip covered in rills and gullies due to erosion processes caused by rainfall: Rummu, Estonia
Dobbingstone Burn, Scotland, showing two different types of erosion affecting the same place. Valley erosion is occurring due to the flow of the stream, and the boulders and stones (and much of the soil) that are lying on the stream's banks are glacial till that was left behind as ice age glaciers flowed over the terrain.
Layers of chalk exposed by a river eroding through them
Wave cut platform caused by erosion of cliffs by the sea, at Southerndown in South Wales
Erosion of the boulder clay (of Pleistocene age) along cliffs of Filey Bay, Yorkshire, England
The Devil's Nest (Pirunpesä), the deepest ground erosion in Europe, located in Jalasjärvi, Kurikka, Finland
Glacial moraines above Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada
The mouth of the River Seaton in Cornwall after heavy rainfall caused flooding in the area and cause a significant amount of the beach to erode; leaving behind a tall sand bank in its place
Árbol de Piedra, a rock formation in the Altiplano, Bolivia sculpted by wind erosion
A wadi in Makhtesh Ramon, Israel, showing gravity collapse erosion on its banks

In earth science, erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that removes soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth's crust, and then transports it to another location where it is deposited.