Impacts on Water Systems

Term Definition
freshwater water that has less than 0.2 percent salt dissolved in it
alpine glacier a glacier that forms in the mountains and is on every continent except Australia.
ice sheet a glacier that spreads over land in all directions
sea ice ice that forms when seawater freezes
ice cores long columns of ice taken from glaciers
runoff water that flows over Earth’s surface
stream a body of water that flows within a channel
watershed an area of land that drains runoff into a particular stream, lake, ocean or other body of water
estuary a coastal area where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with salt water from seas or oceans
lake a large body of water that forms in a basin surrounded by land
groundwater water that lies below ground
water table the upper limit of the saturated zone
porosity the measure of a rock’s ability to hold water
permeability measure of water’s ability to flow through rock and sediment
aquifer an area of permeable sediment or rock that holds significant amount of water
wetland an area of land that is saturated with water for part or all of the year

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