Classroom 9: The Water Cycle explained

Classroom 9

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – What comes down, must go back up!

The Water Cycle is something that is constantly occurring around us every day even though we don’t really see it happening.

The Water Cycle is a process where water evaporates off of the Earth’s surface as water vapor, cools and condenses to form a cloud, and precipitates out of the cloud to return to the Earth’s surface so the process can start all over again.

It starts with the evaporation and/or transpiration process. This is when water vapor rises into the sky. The water vapor evaporates off of other bodies of water, like lakes, ponds, rivers, etc., or it can transpire off of vegetation. It’s the same process, one just deals with a body of water and the other deals with plantation.

After the water vapor rises, it cools and condenses into water droplets or ice crystals depending on the temperature of the atmosphere. The colder the temperature (32 degrees Fahrenheit or colder), the more likely snowflakes will form, the warmer it is (33 degrees Fahrenheit and up), the more likely you’ll have raindrops.

The cooling and condensing of the water vapor create clouds in the sky. This is one of the steps of the water cycle you can see.

Eventually, those water droplets or ice crystals will get too heavy for the cloud and start to fall as raindrops or snowflakes depending on the temperature.

When it rains or snows, the water from the rain or snow after it melts will either be soaked into the vegetation or travel into a nearby body of water. This is known as runoff.

When the runoff reaches the body of water, the process starts all over again.

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