Explain hydrological cycle . The hydrological cycle, also known as the water cycle, is a continuous and dynamic process that describes the movement of water on, above, and below the Earth’s surface. It involves the exchange of water between the atmosphere, oceans, rivers, lakes, soil, and living organisms.
explain hydrological cycle
The key stages of the hydrological cycle include:
- Evaporation: This is the process by which water from the Earth’s surface, such as oceans, rivers, and lakes, transforms into water vapor due to the heat from the sun. Energy from the sun causes water molecules to gain enough energy to change from liquid to vapor.
- Condensation: Water vapor in the atmosphere cools and forms tiny water droplets or ice crystals, leading to the formation of clouds. This process occurs when air containing water vapor rises and cools at higher altitudes.
- Precipitation: Precipitation occurs when water droplets or ice crystals in clouds combine and fall to the Earth’s surface. This can take various forms, including rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
- Infiltration: Once precipitation reaches the Earth’s surface, it may infiltrate into the soil, moving downward through permeable layers. This water can be stored in underground aquifers, contributing to groundwater.
- Surface Runoff: Some precipitation, particularly in areas with impermeable surfaces like pavement or frozen ground, may not infiltrate. Instead, it runs off the surface, forming streams, rivers, and eventually reaching oceans.
- Transpiration: This is the release of water vapor from plants into the atmosphere. Plants absorb water through their roots, and this water eventually evaporates from the leaves, adding to the water vapor content in the atmosphere.
- Sublimation: In regions with snow and ice, the process of sublimation occurs when ice transforms directly into water vapor without going through the liquid phase. This is a phase change from solid to gas.
- Melting: When ice or snow at the Earth’s surface absorbs heat, it melts into liquid water.
The hydrological cycle is vital for maintaining the Earth’s water balance and sustaining life. It regulates the distribution of water, replenishes freshwater resources, and plays a crucial role in weather patterns and climate. This continuous cycle ensures the availability of water for various ecosystems, agriculture, and human activities.
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