Stages Of The Water Cycle
Evaporation / Transpiration
Evaporation is when the sun heats up water in rivers, lakes and the ocean and turns it into vapor. The energy from the sun changes liquid water into water vapor. The water is transferred from the earth's surface and into the atmosphere and is now gas and becomes part of the air around us.
Approximately 80% of all evaporation occurs from the oceans, while the other 20% from inland water and vegetation. Winds transport the evaporated water around the planet, influencing the humidity of the air.
Transpiration is the evaporation of water through plants. Water enters the plant through roots, moves up into the plant and then exits through the leaves of the plant.
Condensation occurs when water that is evaporated into vapor turns back into water again. Water vapor in the air travels as a gas until it meets cooler air. The vapor then turns into water. This creates clouds, once the clouds get to much water and too heavy it releases all the water again, in the process of rain. The water then returns to earth's surface, continuing the process.
Precipitation occurs when there is too much water in the air and clouds cannot hold any more water. Clouds form when water is in the air, once thy get to heavy force of gravity pulls the water back down to earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet and snow. All are forms of precipitation, rain being the most common.
When it rains water falls into oceans, lakes, rivers or on land. When water falls on the land it will soak into the earth. The water will then soak into underground water systems and will be used by plants and trees and soaked up by their roots. Infiltration is the process of water being soaked into the ground. Rain will infiltrate into the ground or it may run off into lakes, streams, river or into the ocean.
This site was last updated 05/15/05