The Water Cycle
Last updated 1 year ago
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The Water Cycle
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Evaporation, the process by which a liquid or a solid changes into a vapor. A substance may evaporate in one of two ways: (1) by changing into a vapor at the surface, as when water evaporates from an uncovered dish; or (2) by boiling, that is, by changing to vapor both within the substance as well as at its surface. A solid can evaporate by melting into a liquid, which then evaporates; or by changing directly into a vapor, or subliming. The rate of evaporation of a substance depends on its surface temperature, the pressure, and the humidity.
Condensation is the process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water. Condensation is crucial to the water cycle because it is responsible for the formation of clouds. These clouds may produce precipitation, which is the primary route for water to return to the Earth's surface within the water cycle. Condensation is the opposite of evaporation.
Precipitation is water released from clouds in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, or hail. It is the primary connection in the water cycle that provides for the delivery of atmospheric water to the Earth. Most precipitation falls as rain.
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Earth's water is always in movement, and the natural water cycle, also known as the water cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Water is always changing states between liquid, vapor, and ice, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years.