The Hydrological Cycle

Topics: Water, Evaporation, Precipitation Pages: 3 (705 words) Published: March 7, 2011
The Water Cycle

By Devon Grenfell

The Water Cycle or Hydrological Cycle has to do with the Hydrosphere which consists of all the water on Earth (oceans, likes, rivers, glaciers.) The Hydrosphere takes up 75% of the earth but only +- 1% of all the water on earth is actually participating in the cycle at any one time. The entire cycle is driven by the sun’s energy.

I will start with the evaporation process. To better understand this process I will look at the Kinetic Molecular Theory. This theory states that all molecules have energy. Molecules gain kinetic energy through heat. The more heat, the faster the molecules move until they are moving so fast that the force between them breaks. This is what happens in the evaporation process, the liquid water is heated by the sun until the water’s bonds break and water vapor is formed. The wind also speeds up this process.

Condensation happens after evaporation. It happens when the water vapor from the evaporation process rises (since it is warmer than the surrounding air) and when it reaches a high altitude it cools and the water vapor condenses back into liquid water droplets. When there are enough water droplets in the atmosphere, clouds form.

Precipitation comes next. Precipitation happens when the collection of water droplets that make up the clouds become too heavy to stay up in the air and fall down to earth. When the conditions are very cold the water falls in the form of hail, sleet or snow.

Once it has precipitated the water collects in lakes and rivers and makes its way back to the ocean. Runoff is when water returns to the ocean underground. From here the cycle starts all over again.

The increases in CO2 emissions have had multiple detrimental effects. As the CO2 keeps more heat from escaping from the earth the oceans begin warming up. This has an especially bad impact on the glaciers in the North and South Poles. Usually the glaciers would act like giant mirrors and reflect most of the...
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