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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 64,658 people as to where they think the water cycle begins.

Water-cycle componentNumber of responses
Atmosphere9,071  (14%) 
Condensation2,773  (4%) 
Evaporation7,458  (12%) 
Evapotranspiration2,479  (4%) 
Freshwater storage1,146  (2%) 
Groundwater discharge1,188  (2%) 
Groundwater storage2,442  (4%) 
Ice and snow4,454  (7%) 
Infiltration1,359  (2%) 
Oceans22,382  (35%) 
Precipitation2,454  (4%) 
Snowmelt runoff1,123  (2%) 
Springs1,485  (2%) 
Streamflow1,319  (2%) 
Sublimation1,086  (2%) 
Surface runoff2,439  (4%) 

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