Water is everywhere around us. Not only in liquid form, but also in the air around us, and of course, as ice. The water cycle is a set of different processes that allow water to move between different parts of our earth. In order to understand the water cycle, you have to understand the different processes as well.
Evaporation – Evaporation is the process of water in a liquid state moving to the gas state, known as water vapor. Take this as an example. When your mom makes pasta, she probably boils water. As the water gets warmed up, it moves becomes a gas. This causes the bubbles that rise out of the water.
Transpiration – Trees and plants help move water from the soil and into the air as well. This is known as transpiration. Water moves through the soil and into the atmosphere as water vapor.
Condensation – As air is cooled, the water vapor in that air tries to become a liquid again. This is how clouds and fog form.
Precipitation – Sometimes, the clouds get too much water. When this happens water falls from the clouds, and we call this rain. Sometimes, when it is cold enough, the rain will fall as snow or ice, which we call sleet.
Runoff – Once the rain reaches the ground, it will move to larger bodies of water through streams and rivers until it reaches the ocean.
As you can see on the graphic to the right and above, when these different processes work together, water is allowed to move through different parts of the earth. This is called the Water Cycle.