Water moves through Earth on the land, oceans and air. This is called the water cycle. Water always exists in all three places, in many forms. 

 

Evaporation, Condensation And Precipitation


The water cycle is made up of three major parts: evaporation, condensation and precipitation. 

 

Evaporation


Evaporation is when a liquid changes to a gas. A liquid is something that flows, like water in a river. A liquid is not hard like a rock. A rock is a solid.  Liquid water is found in the ocean, lakes or rivers. This water evaporates and becomes water vapor. It is a gas that you cannot see. It goes up into the air. The air around the planet is called the atmosphere. 

 

Evaporation is caused by the sun. The sun warms up the water and the water turns into gas. 

 

Condensation


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

 

Precipitation


After condensation, liquid or solid water falls to Earth. Precipitation is what falls. Rain and snow are precipitation. 

 

Precipitation is important in the water cycle. It is how water moves from the atmosphere back to Earth.

 

States Of Water


Water comes in many forms and continually changes in the water cycle. Water is in three forms. They are solid, liquid and vapor. 

 

Ice is solid water. It is hard like a rock. Most of Earth's freshwater is found in giant mountains of ice called glaciers. 

 

As ice melts, it turns to liquid. The ocean, lakes and rivers hold liquid water.

 

Water vapor is in the atmosphere. There is a lot of water vapor above the ocean. There is very little in the air above deserts where it is very dry. 

 

The Water Cycle And Climate


The water cycle has a big effect on climate. Climate is the kind of weather in an area. 

 

Humidity creates different climates on Earth. It 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 are not humid. 

 

The Water Cycle And The Landscape


The water cycle also affects the land on Earth.  

 

As glaciers slowly grow, they can carve out valleys. Glaciers can push up mountains. Rivers can carve huge 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.