Attention Getting Question:
Have you ever wondered where the water you drink has been? Let’s learn more about water to find out!
You can explore the continuous movement of water by learning about a process called the water cycle. The water cycle is water’s movement between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Through this process, water changes its state. The water cycle can move water from the ocean to form a cloud. That cloud can produce snow. The snow can fall on top of a mountain, melt, and move into a river.A water treatment plant can collect the water from the river, clean it, and pump it into your house for you to drink. What a journey water can take to move from the ocean to your glass!
The water cycle depends on energy from the sun. Sunlight heats up water and causes it to evaporate. Evaporation is the change from a liquid into a gas. Water that evaporates is called water vapor. The water vapor rises into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surrounds Earth. As the air gets cooler, the water vapor turns into tiny droplets of liquid water. This process is known as condensation. Clouds form when millions of tiny droplets of water are close together. As condensation continues, the water droplets become larger and heavier. Precipitation is water that falls to Earth’s surface.Precipitation falls as rain, sleet, snow, or hail. What happens to water when it’s on Earth’s surface again?
Water from precipitation will continue through the water cycle in various ways. Think about a puddle that forms after it rains. When the sun comes out, the puddle quickly evaporates taking the water through the water cycle again. Rainfall may give much-needed water to plants. As the water is absorbed through the plant’s roots, the water will move through the plant’s stem and to the leaves. As sunlight heats up the plant, it causes the water to evaporate through the leaves of the plant. This process is called transpiration. Water from precipitation can seep through the ground. Water that is stored underground is called ground water. An aquifer is a body of rock that stores ground water. Water from aquifers can be pumped out and used as a fresh water supply.
Scientists study the water cycle and its effect on climate. Climate is the pattern of weather in aspecific place over a period of time. Think about tropical climates. Tropical climates are in warm areas near water. The energy from the sun evaporates a lot of water causing a lot of precipitation. As scientists study the climate and water cycle in different regions, they are able to make predictions about weather patterns.
The water cycle is the continuous movement of water between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. The sun’s energy can evaporate water, condense it, and then make water fall to the earth in a form of precipitation. The next time you drink a glass of water, think about the incredible journey the water has taken!