Water cycle: what it is, definition and stages

Water cycle: what it is, definition and stages
Posted on 27-02-2022

Water cycle

The water cycle or hydrological cycle is the permanent process of transformation and circulation of water in nature. During this process, water goes through different physical states: solid, liquid, and gas.

The processes involved in the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, and transpiration.

water cycle

Water in nature is in constant motion through the land, atmosphere, and oceans.

Water in nature is indispensable in the maintenance of life. It is distributed in nature in rivers, seas, lakes, oceans, glaciers, and underground aquifers.

The water cycle in nature is fundamental in:

  • The maintenance of life on planet earth;
  • The variation of the weather and
  • The level of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans.

Phases of the water cycle

The water cycle is made up of five stages or phases: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, and transpiration.


The heat radiated by the sun heats the water in rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans, producing the phenomenon of evaporationAt this time, the transformation of water from a liquid state to a gaseous state takes place and it moves from the surface of the earth to the atmosphere.



Evaporation and condensation processes of water in nature.

When the water vapor in the atmosphere cools, it forms small droplets, which group together and form clouds and mist. This process of transforming water from a gaseous to a liquid state is known as condensation.



Rain is the result of the precipitation of water in the atmosphere.

When there is a lot of condensed water in the atmosphere, the precipitation process begins, which is nothing more than the fall of water in the form of rain, snow, or hail depending on the environmental temperature of the regions. Snow and hail are water in the atmosphere converted to its solid state.



The water descends to underground aquifer deposits.

When precipitation reaches the earth's surface, some of that water percolates through the ground and feeds underground water reservoirs by infiltration.



Forests are important sources of plant water transpiration.

Plants absorb water, either from aquifer deposits or precipitation and after using it, release it back into the atmosphere through the process of transpiration. Water can also evaporate and percolate through the ground to supply rivers, which flow into seas and oceans, restarting the entire process of the water cycle.



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