What is the water cycle?

Posted: 10:32 AM EDT Jul 27, 2011

The water cycle is a continuous cycle where water evaporates, travels into the air and becomes part of a cloud, falls down to earth as precipitation, and then evaporates again.

This repeats again and again in a never-ending cycle.

Water keeps moving and changing from a solid to a liquid to a gas, over and over again.

The water cycle begins with evaporation from the sun heating up the water in rivers, lakes or the ocean.

This turns the water into vapor or steam, which leaves the body of water and goes into the air.

Transpiration is the process by which plants lose water out of their leaves.

Condensation is when water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into water to form clouds.

Think of it this way, when you open a cold soda on a hot summer day, your soda will start to sweat as water droplets form on the outside of the can.

Precipitation occurs when so much water has condensed that the air can't hold it anymore, giving us rain or snow.

Collection happens when the precipitation falls and is collected back in the oceans, lakes and rivers.

When it falls to the ground, it will soak into the earth and become ground water.

This is the water cycle and it just keeps repeating.

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