Jim Grattan

Water Cycle That Involves The Sun

Figure 10 The water cycle involves evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Water molecules can follow several pathways through the water cycle. Identify as many water cycle pathways as you can from this diagram.

Condensation Water vapor that has been released into the atmosphere eventually comes into contact with colder air. The temperature of the water vapor drops. Over time, the water vapor cools enough to change back into liquid water. The process of changing from a gas to a liquid is called condensation. Water vapor condenses on particles of dust in the air, forming tiny droplets. At first, the droplets clump together to form clouds. When they become large and heavy enough, they fall to the ground as rain or other precipitation. As the diagram in Figure 10 shows, the water cycle is a model that describes how water

! Table 1 U.S. Estimated Water Use in 1995 1

Water Use

Millions of


Gallons per Day

of Total

Homes and


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