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Where does the water cycle begin?

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If I asked you where the beginning of the edge of a bicycle wheel begins, you'd know that was a trick question. Technically, there is no beginning point of the water cycle - but you can still have an opinion about it, though. The table below lists the opinions of 61,140 people as to where they think the water cycle begins.

Water-cycle componentNumber of responses
Atmosphere8,664  (14%) 
Condensation2,648  (4%) 
Evaporation6,894  (11%) 
Evapotranspiration2,410  (4%) 
Freshwater storage1,118  (2%) 
Groundwater discharge1,126  (2%) 
Groundwater storage2,362  (4%) 
Ice and snow4,383  (7%) 
Infiltration1,338  (2%) 
Oceans20,576  (34%) 
Precipitation2,290  (4%) 
Snowmelt runoff1,083  (2%) 
Springs1,453  (2%) 
Streamflow1,311  (2%) 
Sublimation1,061  (2%) 
Surface runoff2,423  (4%) 

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