This article throws light upon the six main components of water cycle. The components are: 1. Evapotranspiration 2. Condensation 3. Precipitation 4. Infiltration 5. Percolation 6. Runoff.
Water Cycle: Component # 1. Evaporation:
Evaporation is the process where a liquid changes from its liquid state to a gaseous state. Liquid water becomes water vapour. Temperature is the primary factor for evaporation.
During the water cycle the water of the oceans and freshwater bodies, such as lakes and rivers, is warmed by the sun and evaporates. During the process of evaporation, impurities in the water are left behind. As a result, the water that goes into the atmosphere is cleaner than it was on Earth.
Water Cycle: Component # 2. Condensation:
Condensation is the opposite of evaporation. Condensation is the process where a gas is changed into a liquid. Condensation occurs when the temperature of the vapour decreases.
The water droplets formed from condensation are very small and they remain suspended in the atmosphere. There millions of droplets of suspended water form clouds in the sky or fog at ground level. Water condenses into droplets only when there are small dusts particles present around.
Water Cycle: Component # 3. Precipitation:
When the temperature and atmospheric pressure are right, the small droplets of water in clouds form larger droplets or raindrops and it is called precipitation. The raindrops fall to earth.
As a result of evaporation, condensation and precipitation, water travels from the surface of the Earth goes into the atmosphere, and returns to Earth again.
Water Cycle: Component # 4. Surface Runoff:
Much of the water that returns to Earth as precipitation runs off the surface of the land and flows down-hill into streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. Small streams flow into the ocean. Surface runoff is an important part of the water cycle because, through surface runoff, much of the water returns again to the oceans, where a great deal of evaporation occurs.
Water Cycle: Component # 5. Infiltration:
Infiltration is an important process where rain water soaks into the ground, through the soil and underlying rock layers. Some of this water ultimately returns to the surface at springs or in low spots downhill. Some of the water remains underground and is called groundwater.
As the water infiltrates through the soil and rock layers, many of the impurities in the water are filtered out. This filtering process helps in cleaning of the water.
Water Cycle: Component # 6. Transpiration or Evapotranspiration:
This is performed by plants. As plants absorb water from the soil, the water moves from the roots through the stems to the leaves. Once the water reaches the leaves, some of it evaporates from the leaves, adding to the amount of water vapour in the air. This process of evaporation through plant leaves is called transpiration. In large forests, an enormous amount of water will transpire through leaves.