The rain cycle refers to the process by which water travels around the Earth and within the Earth’s atmosphere. The rain cycle is an essential part of sustaining life on Earth, and plays a vital role in climate and weather. Composed of four parts; evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.
Step One: Evaporation and Transpiration
The first step in the Earth’s rain cycle is evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation occurs when the water in lakes, ponds, rivers, and the ocean turns into vapor or steam as a result of the Sun heating the Earth’s surface, causing the water to rise in temperature. When the water heats and vaporizes, it becomes part of the air.
Transpiration is similar to evaporation, in that, as water is being transformed from a liquid to a gas it becomes part of Earth’s air. However, transpiration refers specifically to plants releasing water form their leaves and stems rather than from an existing water source.
Step Two: Condensation
The second step of the rain cycle is condensation, or the process in which all that water vapor in the air once again changes from a gas to liquid. This change from gas to liquid occurs as a result of the water vapor being cooled. This cooled air and water vapor forms clouds. When water is heated, it becomes vapor; when water is cooled, it turns back to a liquid.
Step Three: Precipitation
Precipitation is the third step of the rain cycle, and is the step in the cycle that results in rain or other forms of precipitation including hail, sleet or snow depending upon the temperature of the surrounding air. When the clouds fill up with all that water, they become heavy. When they are too heavy to hold any more water, the water is released and falls back to the Earth.
Step Four: Collection
The final process in the rain cycle is collection. As the name of the stage implies, this step refers to the collection of water after precipitation occurs. The water which fell from the sky during precipitation is collected in rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans, and the soil. The Earth and plants soak up the water, bodies of water rise in their water level, and humans and animals alike use the water that is collected by these means.
After collection has occurred, the entire process begins all over again. The time between each stage of the process and the duration of each process varies on the particular region of earth. Temperature, climate, altitude, and humidity all affect the frequency of the water cycle. However, the water cycle is always the same in its step-by-step process: evaporation and transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and collection.
To help protect the earth and keep the rain cycle functioning as it should, practicing earth-friendly habits is important. Recycling, putting trash in its proper place, and conserving water will help keep the Earth clean and help to protect water and the rain cycle.
This article was written by Logan Frehley, an eco-writer who hopes to help you understand and appreciate the environment better. He writes this on behalf of Wade Architectural Systems, your number one choice when looking for rainscreen cladding for commercial buildings. Check out their website today and see how they can help you manage the rain! With years of experience, they are sure to be able to help you!