Water moves through our planet in many ways. This is called the water cycle. Water is found in many places. It is found on land. It is in the oceans and up in the air. Water comes in three forms. It exists as a solid, liquid or vapor

 

Ice is solid water. Most freshwater on Earth is ice. It is found in big chunks called glaciers. 

 

As ice melts, it turns to liquid. Water in a glass is liquid.

 

Water vapor is a gas. You cannot see gas. It is in the air around us.

 

The water cycle is made up of three parts:

 

Evaporation


Evaporation is when a liquid changes to a gas. Liquid water is found in seas, lakes or rivers. The sun warms up the water and the water turns into gas. It becomes water vapor. It goes up into the air. The planet is surrounded by gases. It is called the atmosphere. 

 

Condensation


Condensation is when gas changes to a liquid. This happens to water vapor in the atmosphere. The gas cools down. It turns into a liquid. 

 

Precipitation


After condensation, liquid or solid water falls to Earth. Precipitation is what falls. Rain and snow are precipitation. This is how water moves from the atmosphere to Earth.

 

How The Water Cycle Affects Our Planet


Humidity is how much water vapor is in the air. Places on the coast are very humid. There is a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere. Places far away from water, like deserts, are different. They are not humid. 

 

The water cycle can change how the land looks. Glaciers grow slowly. They can push up mountains. Rivers can wash away land. They can make big canyons.

 

Hydrologic Cycle
Rain is part of the water cycle.
air pressure
Noun

force pressed on an object by air or atmosphere.

Noun

an underground layer of rock or earth which holds groundwater.

atmosphere (atm)
Noun

(atm) unit of measurement equal to air pressure at sea level, about 14.7 pounds per square inch. Also called standard atmospheric pressure.

Noun

deep, narrow valley with steep sides.

climate
Noun

all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

Noun

visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere.

cloud condensation nuclei (CCN)
Plural Noun

microscopic bits of clay, salt, or solid pollutant around which water vapor condenses in clouds to form raindrops.

Noun

process by which water vapor becomes liquid.

Noun

steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.

Noun

number of things of one kind in a given area.

dew point
Noun

temperature at which water in the air condenses to form water droplets on objects near the ground.

diffuse
Verb

to spread out or scatter.

Noun

community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

Noun

act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.

Noun

process by which liquid water becomes water vapor.

evapotranspiration
Noun

loss of water from the Earth's soil by evaporation into the atmosphere and transpiration by plants.

fluctuate
Verb

to constantly change back and forth.

Noun

clouds at ground level.

freshwater
Adjective

having to do with a habitat or ecosystem of a lake, river, or spring.

glacial erratic
Noun

rock, deposited by a glacier, that differs from the geology and landscape in which it is found.

glacial valley
Noun

depression in the earth created by a moving glacier.

Noun

mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

Great Lakes
Noun

largest freshwater bodies in the world, located in the United States and Canada. Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior make up the Great Lakes.

greenhouse gas
Noun

gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.

Noun

water found in an aquifer.

Noun

amount of water vapor in the air.

Noun

water in its solid form.

Noun

area of fewer than 50,000 square kilometers (19,000 square miles) covered by ice.

Noun

thick layer of glacial ice that covers a large area of land.

insulate
Verb

to cover with material to prevent the escape of energy (such as heat) or sound.

Noun

body of water surrounded by land.

Noun

specific natural feature on the Earth's surface.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

microscopic
Adjective

very small.

Midwest
Noun

area of the United States consisting of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

physical geography
Noun

study of the natural features and processes of the Earth.

Noun

large region that is higher than the surrounding area and relatively flat.

pollutant
Noun

chemical or other substance that harms a natural resource.

pore
Noun

tiny opening.

Noun

all forms in which water falls to Earth from the atmosphere.

residence time
Noun

amount of time a water molecule spends in one place in the water cycle.

Noun

large stream of flowing fresh water.

Noun

overflow of fluid from a farm or industrial factory.

snowmelt
Noun

water supplied by snow.

stomata
Plural Noun

(singular: stoma) tiny openings on the surface of leaves that control the exchange of gases in a plant.

Noun

degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.

transpiration
Noun

evaporation of water from plants.

valley
Noun

depression in the Earth between hills.

vapor
Noun

visible liquid suspended in the air, such as fog.

Noun

movement of water between atmosphere, land, and ocean.

Noun

state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.

Noun

movement of air (from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone) caused by the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun.