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What is the wetting factor and how is it determined?

The water cycle in nature is one of the most important processes in the geographic environment. It is based on two interrelated processes: the humidification of the earth's surface by precipitation and the evaporation of moisture from it into the atmosphere. Both these processes determine the wetting factor for a particular area. What is the wetting factor and how is it determined? This is what this article is about.

Humidity factor: determination

Humidification of the territory and the evaporation of moisture from its surface all over the world occur absolutely the same. However, the question of what is the wetting factor, in different countries of the world, responds quite differently. And the very concept in this formulation is not accepted in all countries. For example, in the USA this is the "precipitation-evaporation ratio", which can literally be translated as "index (ratio) of moisture and volatility."

But still, what is the wetting factor? This is a certain relationship between the amount of precipitation and the level of evaporation in a given territory for a specific period of time. The formula for calculating this coefficient is very simple:

K = O / I,

Where O is the amount of precipitation (in millimeters);

And I is the amount of volatility (also in millimeters).

Different approaches to determining the coefficient

How to determine the humidification factor? Today, about 20 different methods are known.

In our country (and also in the post-Soviet space) the method of definition, proposed by Georgi Nikolaevich Vysotsky, is most often used. He is an outstanding Ukrainian scientist, geobotanist and soil scientist, the founder of forest science. During his life he wrote over 200 scientific works.

It should be noted that in Europe, as well as in the US, the Tortweit coefficient is used. However, the methodology for calculating it is much more complicated and has its drawbacks.

Determination of coefficient

To determine this indicator for a particular territory is not at all difficult. Consider this technique in the following example.

Given the area for which you need to calculate the wetting factor. It is known that over a year this territory receives 900 mm of precipitation, and evaporates from it during the same period of time - 600 mm. To calculate the coefficient, you should divide the amount of precipitation into volatility, that is 900/600 mm. As a result, we get the value 1.5. This will be the wetting factor for this area.

The Ivanov-Vysotsky humidification coefficient can be equal to one, be lower or higher than 1. If:

  • K = 0, then humidification for a given territory is considered sufficient;
  • K is greater than 1, then humidification is excessive;
  • K is less than 1, then humidification is inadequate.

The magnitude of this indicator, of course, will directly depend on the temperature regime in a particular area, as well as on the amount of precipitation falling in a year.

What is the humidification factor used for?

The Ivanov-Vysotsky coefficient is an extremely important climatic indicator. After all, he is able to give a picture of the provision of the terrain with water resources. This coefficient is simply necessary for the development of agriculture, as well as for general economic planning of the territory.

It also determines the level of dryness of the climate: the higher it is, the more humid the climate. In areas with excessive moisture, there is always an abundance of lakes and wetlands. Meadow and forest vegetation prevail in the vegetation cover.

The maximum values of the coefficient are characteristic for high-mountain areas (above 1000-1200 meters). Here, as a rule, there is an excess of moisture, which can reach 300-500 millimeters per year! The same amount of atmospheric moisture gets the steppe zone over the year. The coefficient of moistening in mountain regions reaches its maximum values: 1.8-2.4.

Excessive moistening is also observed in the natural zone of the taiga, tundra, forest-tundra, as well as temperate broad-leaved forests. In these areas the coefficient is not more than 1.5. In the forest-steppe zone, it varies between 0.7 and 1.0, but in the steppe zone there is already insufficient moistening of the territory (K = 0.3-0.6).

The minimum humidification values are typical for the semidesert zone (only about 0.2-0.3), and also for the desert zone (up to 0.1).

Humidity factor in Russia

Russia is a huge country, which is characterized by a wide variety of climatic conditions. If we talk about the coefficient of moistening, then its values within Russia fluctuate within a wide range from 0.3 to 1.5. The scant hydration is observed in the Caspian region (about 0.3). In the steppe and forest-steppe zone it is somewhat higher - 0.5-0.8. Maximum hydration is typical for the forest-tundra zone, as well as for the high-mountainous regions of the Caucasus, Altai, and the Ural Mountains.

Now you know what the wetting factor is. This is a rather important indicator, which plays a very important role for the development of the national economy and the agro-industrial complex. This coefficient depends on two values: the amount of precipitation and the amount of volatility for a certain period of time.

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