Process Of Water Cycle with The Help of a Diagram:
Our earth is said to be a blue planet. Do you know why? As 75% of it is surrounded by water either in its solid form or in liquid form. Further, we show the precipitation form of water as well. Have you ever wondered why rain happens? We have lots of queries regarding water, isn’t it? However, we can understand every bit of such questions by understanding a single process, i.e., the water cycle. Now let’s know what’s it and how it is linked to either form of precipitation.
Table of Contents
What is the Water Cycle?
The water cycle is the continuous movement of water in different forms which connects all the water bodies along with our atmosphere with each other. The water cycle is often called a hydrologic cycle (hydro-water).
There are several series of processes taking place within a single water cycle.
- When there is more heat in the atmosphere, the surface water from different water bodies raises up in its gaseous form.
- After that, it cools down and forms cloud droplets.
- Several cloud droplets combine to create a cloud.
- Some types of clouds are the causes of precipitation like rainfall and snowfall.
- And that way, the water moved up and came back to those water bodies again.
This forms a cycle, and due to the involvement of water, it is known as the water cycle. It is a short explanation of the entire water cycle. However, there are lots of other terms and processes are present. Now, let’s see the whole mechanism.
Process of the Water Cycle:
We can give a comprehensive explanation of the Water cycle through its diagram. Let’s have a look at how it takes place.
The water cycle is a process that connects our hydrosphere with the atmosphere. That means it takes place through our atmosphere.
Just by knowing it, we can explain several other processes like how clouds are formed, why rain happens and also why there are several types of weather conditions.
We can significantly explain the process of the water cycle with this simple diagram. It involves several stages; let’s dig deeper into them.
Stages of Water Cycle:
There are generally four main steps of the hydrologic cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and runoff. They are further described in detail below:
Have you ever thought, why wet clothes become dry when we spread them under the sun? Well, this is due to the changes in liquid water molecules into gaseous vapor in the presence of heat.
With the same phenomena, the surface water of all the water bodies (even in a small deposition of water) changes its liquid form to gaseous form. This process is known as Evaporation. In fact, the conversion of a liquid to the gaseous stage is familiar as Evaporation.
Now, answer one question. We use water on a regular basis; further, some amount of water evaporates through heat from the sun. After this considerable water loss, how could the total amount of water remain constant? Well, we can explain that through the process of the water cycle where the first step is Evaporation.
Some students can get confused between Evaporation and boiling. We can observe this phenomenon by boiling some water over a bowl. However, Evaporation can only take place in surface water and boiling heated up all the molecules of water in a pot.
By reaching water’s boiling point that is 100°c, water changes its state completely. That means at 100°c all the water in a pot becomes gaseous vapour.
Yet, the best explanation of this step of the water cycle can be done through heating water for a few seconds. That time only the surface water will be evaporated.
So, the sun heated up the surface water of all water reservoirs like oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. Then the liquid water changes its stage to gaseous vapours through Evaporation.
All water bodies take part in the process of the water cycle; however, the ocean has the most significant role. This is because oceans contain about 97% of the total water on earth. Thus around 78% of water evaporated from these substantial water resources.
The same thing also happens with trees. Here the process is similar to our respiration. Trees absorb water from the soil for their respiration and photosynthesis. Then through stomata, that water is lost through a process called transpiration. And, this evaporation process is called evapotranspiration.
Well, our earth further contains a large number of glaciers and ice caps. The heat from the sun evaporates surface water, then how could the glaciers remain the same? That time some amount of snow or ice melts to evaporate. But it takes place without the middle stage that is without the formation of water. That snow or ice in the solid-state directly converts to gaseous vapors, and that process is called sublimation.
So, after moving up, what will happen? Let’s understand through the next step.
Think for a second. Whenever we boil water with a lid, what happens? We get some water droplets attached to the cover, right? But why? Because they cool down by getting in touch with that lid.
Similarly, after all, the surface water gets evaporated by solar heat, that light gaseous vapours rise up high and become cool down. And then it again changes its form from gaseous state to liquid state. This phenomenon is called Condensation.
This stage of the water cycle can explain how the clouds are formed. Well, you have seen the water vapours of that pot become condensed over the lid. But naturally, there is no lid on the sky. How can the vapours get condensed? Yes, the Condensation process requires a surface. Hence, here the vapours got condensed over dust and smoke particles of the atmosphere.
Gaseous vapours become cool on dust particles and form water droplets. Several water droplets then combined to form clouds. Therefore, if you zoom in on the clouds, you will get to know these are nothing but water molecules.
This takes place over a mile from the earth’s surface in the troposphere of the atmosphere. But what will happen when the water gets condensed on the road? Will you see clouds over roads?
Well, similar, but not exactly. Those forms fog. Yes, fog is a type of cloud, and this usually happens in cold winters. That time the atmospheric temperature remains low, and the evaporated water becomes condensed just after a few meters and creates fog. You can also see the formation of fog by performing some weather activities.
Voila, clouds formed. Now, what will happen?
Now, clouds will cause rainfall, hailstones, snowfall and also storms like thunderstorms. Thus, this process of the water cycle explains us about several types of weather conditions like seen in the diagram.
Rainfall, snowfall, hail, dewdrops are various kinds of precipitation caused by clouds. So, what is precipitation?
After the cloud forms, does the Condensation process stop? No, it continues and continues to increase the size of clouds. Yet, clouds can hold a limited amount of water droplets and thus become so heavy. And when they become saturated with water droplets, they start releasing water or snow or hail. This process is called precipitation.
In winter, you may have seen water droplets over leaves. What are they? Those are the precipitation of our mini clouds or fogs known as dew drops. Snow generally falls as precipitation in cold regions where water changes its state quickly.
Percolation and Infiltration:
After the rain and snowfall, water sinks down and flows in cracked rock and soil particles. This process is called percolation. Furthermore, some amount of water is absorbed vertically into the soil and stored as groundwater, and this process is called Infiltration.
The remaining water, some from glaciers and some rainwater over the smooth surfaces flow towards different water bodies like rivers and lakes. Groundwater moreover forms layers and connects with the ocean and thus that surplus water mixes with the ocean and the same process repeats.
This occurs in a cyclic manner that the water lost through Evaporation, sublimation and transpiration again come back to the earth surface through Condensation and precipitation. Therefore, it is called a water cycle.
Water is an abiotic component of our ecosystem. However, it connects all the other living as well as non-living components of the earth. It is an essential element for life and therefore, understanding the water cycle by simple explanation along with a diagram is necessary.