(8) Planet Blue

Water cycle


Water Cycle

The water cycle is the continuous recycling of water on Earth. Water passes through all its forms in a water cycle. The water cycle is also known as hydrological cycle. Water from water bodies evaporates and mixes with air forming water vapors, which then condense to form clouds. The clouds then bring rain and return the water onto Earth’s surface.

90% of the total fresh water on Earth is found in Antarctica.

• Transpiration is the process by which plants lose water to the air.

• About 90% of atmospheric water comes from evaporation.

• About 10% of atmospheric water comes from transpiration.

• About 86% of the global evaporation occurs from the oceans.

• Water is the only thing in nature that can be a gas, liquid, or solid.

• Advection is the movement of water through the atmosphere.

• About 0.0001% of water on Earth is found in the rivers and streams.

Earth's Water Supply

97% of Earth’s water supply comes from the oceans, icecaps, and glaciers. The remaining 1% comes from fresh ground water.

Parts of the Water Cycle

The water cycle is made up of a few main parts such as evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and collection.


A cloud is a visible mass of condensed water vapor. Clouds are suspended in the atmosphere or in the higher layers of the atmosphere. Air contains water. When warm air containing water rises, it expands and cools. This cool air condenses into tiny water droplets or ice crystals. These droplets aggregate to form a visible cloud.

 Type of Cloud – Appearance – Altitude (height)


Cumulo nimbus – Can cause lightening, thunder, hail, strong rains, strong winds, and tornados – Near ground up 75,000 feet

Cirro stratus – Thin, wispy, appears in sheets – Above 17,998 feet

Cirrus – Thin, wispy, filamentous, or curly – Above 17, 998 feet

Cirro Cumulus – Small, puffy, patchy and/or with a wave like appearance – Above 17,998 feet

Alto cumulus – Medium-sized puffy, patchy, scattered clouds often in linear bands – 6,499-20,000 feet

Alto stratus – Thin, uniform – 6,499-20,000 feet

Strato cumulus – Brad and flat on the bottom, puffy on the top – Bellow 6,499 feet

Cumulus – Puffy and pilled up – Bellow 6,499 feet

Stratus – Uniform, flat, thick to thin layered clouds with ill-defined edges – Bellow 6,499 feet

Nimbo stratus – Uniform, dark, flat, low, featureless clouds that produce precipitation – Bellow 6,499 feet


Rain is a form of precipitation. The process of evaporation and condensation leads to the formation of rain. Water from the rivers, lakes, and oceans evaporate and condense to form liquid droplets, which form clouds. As these droplets become heavy they fall onto Earth in the form of rain.

• Drizzle is a type of rainfall with raindrops having a diameter of less than half a millimeter.

• The wettest place in the world is Mawsynram in India.

• The Atacama Desert of Chile has an average annual rainfall of less than .03 inches.

• One inch of rain falling over an area of one acre has a weight of one ton.

• The biggest raindrops on the earth were recorded over Brazil and the Marshall Islands in 2004, as large as .39 inches.

• The Bergeron process is the scientific explanation of how rain forms and falls.

• Small raindrops are nearly spherical in shape.

Rain Gauge

A rain gauge is used to measure the amount of rainfall.

Types of Rain

There are three general types of rain: orographic, frontal, and convective.


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