The Water Cycle
Standard E.8.1, Grade Level 4
Stages of the Water Cycle
Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Accumulation, Transpiration, and Surface Runoff
Each stage in more detail
Evaporation = when the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake or ocean and goes into the air.
Condensation = Water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into liquid, forming clouds.
Precipitation = occurs when so much water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore. The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow.
Accumulation = When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may fall back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land. When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts
Transpiration = evaporation of water into the atmosphere from the leaves and stems of plants. Plants absorb soilwater through their roots and this water can originate from deep in the soil.
Surface Runoff = the water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources, flowing over the land surface to ultimately reach streams