Think about this when you put an ice cube in your lemonade.
» Sometimes this collected water, comes down to the Earth's surface in the form of , hail, or partially melted snow which is called sleet.
» A study suggests that due to , the water cycle has been affected.
The water cycle has no starting point, but we'll begin in the , since that is where most of Earth's water exists. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it as vapor into the air; a relatively smaller amount of moisture is added as ice and snow directly from the solid state into vapor. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the , along with water from , which is water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. The vapor rises into the air where cooler temperatures cause it to into clouds.
In this Buzzle article, we will focus on how the water cycle works in detail with a simple diagram.
In order to provide an explanation of water cycle, it can be divided into four main stages.
Let us understand each stage one by one.
Above was the theory of water cycle for you to understand, but one grasps concepts better if they are observed practically.
What is the water cycle? I can easily answer that—it is "me" all over! The water cycle describes the existence and movement of water on, in, and above the Earth. Earth's water is always in movement and is always changing states, from liquid to vapor to ice and back again. The water cycle has been working for billions of years and all life on Earth depends on it continuing to work; the Earth would be a pretty stale place without it.
Large amounts of water are stored in the ground. The water is still moving, possibly very slowly, and it is a part of the water cycle. Most of the water in the ground comes from precipitation that infiltrates downward from the land surface. The upper layer of the soil is the unsaturated zone, where water is present in varying amounts that change over time, but does not saturate the soil. Below this layer is the saturated zone, where all of the pores, cracks, and spaces between rock particles are saturated with water. The term groundwater is used to describe this area. Another term for groundwater is "aquifer," although this term is usually used to describe water-bearing formations capable of yielding enough water to supply peoples' uses. Aquifers are a huge storehouse of Earth's water and people all over the world depend on groundwater in their daily lives.
One part of the water cycle that is obviously essential to all life on Earth is the freshwater existing on the land surface. Just ask your neighbor, a tomato plant, a trout, or that pesky mosquito. Surface water includes the streams (of all sizes, from large rivers to small creeks), ponds, lakes, reservoirs (man-made lakes), and freshwater wetlands. The definition of freshwater is water containing less than 1,000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, most often salt.
As with all aspects of the water cycle, the interaction between precipitation and surface runoff varies according to time and geography. Similar storms occurring in the Amazon jungle and in the desert Southwest of the United States will produce different surface-runoff effects. Surface runoff is affected by both meteorological factors and the physical geology and topography of the land. Only about a third of the precipitation that falls over land runs off into streams and rivers and is returned to the oceans. The other two-thirds is evaporated, transpired, or soaks into groundwater. Surface runoff can also be diverted by humans for their own uses.
“It uses a tremendous amount of fresh water that once used for fracking can't be used for anything else. It all ends up in underground disposal wells after it becomes mixed with chemicals—it becomes contaminated and taken out of the water cycle."
If you live in Florida or on the French Riviera you might not wake up everyday wondering how melting snow contributes to the water cycle. But, in the world-wide scheme of the water cycle, runoff from snowmelt is a major component of the global movement of water. In the colder climates much of the springtime and in rivers is attributable to melting snow and ice. The effect of snowmelt on potential flooding, mainly during the spring, is something that causes concern for many people around the world. Besides flooding, rapid snowmelt can trigger landslides and debris flows.
The vast majority, almost 90 percent, of Earth's ice mass is in Antarctica, while the Greenland ice cap contains 10 percent of the total global ice-mass. The Greenland ice cap is an interesting part of the water cycle. The ice cap became so large over time (about 600,000 cubic miles (mi3) or 2.5 million cubic kilometers (km3)) because more snow fell than melted. Over the millenia, as the snow got deeper, it compressed and became ice. The ice cap averages about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) in thickness, but can be as thick as 14,000 feet (4,300 meters). The ice is so heavy that the land below it has been pressed down into the shape of a bowl. In many places, glaciers on Greenland reach to the sea, and one estimate is that as much as 125 mi3 (517 km3) of ice "calves" into the ocean each year—one of Greenland's contributions to the global water cycle. Ocean-bound icebergs travel with the currents, melting along the way. Some icebergs have been seen, in much smaller form, as far south as the island of Bermuda.
In contrast, the Moon has had virtually no history of water or volcanic action, with the result that it is basically composed of trash rocks with very little differentiation into ores that represent useful concentrations of anything interesting. You can generate power on either the Moon or Mars with solar panels, and here the advantages of the Moon's clearer skies and closer proximity to the Sun than Mars roughly balances the disadvantage of large energy storage requirements created by the Moon's 28-day light-dark cycle.