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Water Cycle Argumentative

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1527
  • Category: Water

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Water is neither destroyed nor created; it is only transformed into different states as it moves through the environment in a process called the Water Cycle. This cycle is also technically known as the hydrologic cycle or H20 cycle, which is the period of travel that water undertakes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again. To elaborate on this, an explanation of this recurring period of time would be that the Sun (being the cause and guide of the movement) provides energy from its heat, to evaporate water from the Earth’s surface, Evaporation continuously moves water from the surface to the atmosphere, and water evaporates as water vapor into the air. Plants also lose water to the air as water is transpired, Evapotranspiration is when water is transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. Gas rises and cools as rising air currents take the vapor into the atmosphere, where water vapor eventually condenses from the cooler temperatures, forming tiny droplets into clouds called condensation.

When air currents cause water vapor to move around the globe, the clouds get heavy therefore precipitation (rain, sleet, or snow) is triggered (all forms of moisture from the sky), as cloud particles collide, grow and fall out of the sky, therefore water returns to the land or sea. Most of this water soaks into the ground as infiltration, where some of it flows over the ground as surface runoff. Some of this precipitation saturates deep into the ground and replenishes aquifers (wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials such as gravel, sand silt or clay). In this manner it stores freshwater for long periods of time, some water becomes ground water (underground water which is trapped between rocks or clay layers). Although an abundant amount of the water flows downhill as runoff, previously mentioned as above ground or underground, in the course of time this returns to the seas as somewhat salty water thereby our water cycle starts again.

Evaporation: The process in which water undergoes change from the state of liquid to gas (vapor). This is the fundamental path that water moves from liquid state back into the water cycle as atmospheric water vapor. Transpiration: Transpiration is the biological process that occurs mostly in the day, and has a similar process to that of evaporation. It can be technically referred to as hyperhidrosis or more intrinsically known as sweating. Transpiration is when there is a loss of water vapor from parts of plants such as stems, flowers and roots, but mostly from the leaves.

Water inside of plants is transferred from the plant to the atmosphere as water vapor through numerous individual leave openings. Plants transpire to move nutrients to the upper portion of the plants and to cool the leaves exposed to the sun. Leaves undergoing rapid transpiration can be significantly cooler than the surrounding air. Transpiration is greatly affected by the species of plants that are in the soil and it is strongly affected by the amount of light to which the plants are exposed. Water can be transpired freely by plants until a water shortage develops in the plant and it water-releasing cells (stomata) begin to close. Transpiration then continues at a much slower rate. Only a small portion of the water that plants absorb are retained in the plants.

Vegetation generally retards evaporation from the soil. Vegetation that is shading the soil, reduces the wind velocity. Also, releasing water vapor to the atmosphere reduces the amount of direct evaporation from the soil or from snow or ice cover. The absorption of water into plant roots, along with interception that occurs on plant surfaces offsets the general effects that vegetation has in retarding evaporation from the soil. The forest vegetation tends to have more moisture than the soil beneath the trees. Condensation: Condensation is the transition of water vapor into liquid water. Tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere form clouds, Condensation is the process by which water vapor changes it’s physical state from a vapor, most commonly, to a liquid. Water vapor condenses onto small airborne particles to form dew, fog, or clouds. The most active particles that form clouds are sea salts, atmospheric ions caused by lightning, and combustion products containing sulfurous and nitrous acids.

Condensation is brought about by cooling of the air or by increasing the amount of vapor in the air to its saturation point. When water vapor condenses back into a liquid state, the same large amount of heat (600 calories of energy per gram) that was needed to make it a vapor is released to the environment. Precipitation: Occurs when there is so much water in the air it cannot hold on to it anymore, thus releases either rain, snow, sleet or hail; although most precipitation occurs as rain which fills up our lakes, streams and oceans on the surface of the earth. Precipitation fills these places on the earth as it creates runoff (variety of ways by which water moves across the land), including both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows down the earth, water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses. The earth also soaks up some of the water, storing it in the ground until it is needed. This storage area is called aquifer; many people pump water directly from an underground aquifer and use it for their drinking water.

Infiltration: Is the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil, once infiltrated; the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater, if the precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate, runoff will usually occur unless there is some physical barrier. The process of infiltration can continue only if there is room available for additional water at the soil surface. Water that enters deep into the earth will eventually rise into the atmosphere at some point in time to complete a cycle. Some water that infiltrates will remain in the shallow soil layer, where it will gradually move vertically and horizontally through the soil and subsurface material. Eventually, it might enter a stream by seepage into the stream bank. Aquifer: An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water –bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using water well. It is a large deposit of groundwater that can be extracted and used by having some of the water that infiltrates deeper, causing recharging ground-water aquifers.

If the aquifers are porous enough to allow water to move freely through it, people can drill wells into the aquifer and use the water for their purposes. Water may travel long distances or remain in ground-water storage for long periods before returning to the surface or seeping into other water bodies, such as streams and the oceans. Natural refilling of deep aquifers is a slow process because ground water moves slowly through the unsaturated zone and the aquifer. Runoff: Runoff is the movement of land water to the oceans, chiefly in the form of rivers, lakes, and streams, Runoff is flow from a drainage basin or watershed that appears in surface streams and consists of precipitation that neither evaporated nor transpired. The variety of ways by which water moves across the land includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may possibly seep into ground, evaporate into the air, store in lakes or reservoirs or even be used for agricultural and industrial uses. It generally consists of the flow that is unaffected by artificial diversions, storages or other works that society might have on or in a stream channel.

The flow is made up partly of precipitation that falls directly on the stream, surface runoff that flows over the land surface and through channels, subsurface runoff that infiltrates the surface soils and moves laterally towards the stream, and groundwater runoff from deep percolation through the soil horizons. Part of the subsurface flow enters the stream quickly, while the remaining portion may take a longer period before joining the water in the stream. When each of the component flows enters the stream, they form the total runoff. The total runoff in the stream channels is called stream flow and is generally regarded as direct runoff or base flow.

In areas where there is no snow, runoff will come from rainfall; however, not all rainfall will produce runoff because storage from soils can absorb light showers, although if there is excess runoff, it can lead to flooding, which occurs when there is too much precipitation. Snowmelt runoff: Is the water produced by melting snow, this process in some countries is a very important part of the annual water cycle. In some area increased water run-off due to snowmelt can cause floods, e.g. Red River valley. Sublimation: Is the conversion between the solid phase of water to the gaseous phase, skipping the liquid state. Sublimation’s opposite is known as deposition where water vapor changes into ice such as snowflakes and frost.

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