The Water Cycle: A Fundamental Weather Process

Evaporation: The water cycle begins with the process of evaporation, where heat from the sun causes water from oceans, lakes, and rivers to turn into water vapor. 

Condensation: As the water vapor rises into the atmosphere, it cools and condenses into tiny water droplets, forming clouds. 

Precipitation: When the cloud droplets combine and grow larger, they fall back to the Earth's surface as precipitation, which can be in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail. 

Surface Runoff: Precipitation that falls on the land may flow over the surface, creating streams and rivers that eventually return the water to the oceans. 

Infiltration: Some precipitation soaks into the ground through a process called infiltration, replenishing groundwater reservoirs. 

Transpiration: Plants absorb water from the soil through their roots, and a portion of this water is released into the atmosphere through tiny pores in leaves, known as transpiration. 

Sublimation: In colder regions, snow and ice can undergo sublimation, where they change directly from a solid to water vapor without melting. 

Cycling Continuously: The water cycle is a continuous process, driven by solar energy, that redistributes water around the planet, maintaining a delicate balance for life on Earth. 

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