The Journey of Water and Our Lives

 

Around 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. This water evaporates and gathers (condenses) into clouds. The clouds result in precipitation and this water falls back to the earth’s surface, prepared to begin the cycle once more.  

For what reason do I give it a second thought? The water cycle is crucial not exclusively to climate, yet to life on earth. Rain is essential for the survival of plants and people. Condensation is fundamental for cloud development. Evaporation is important to cooling and keeping a decent balance of water vapor in the air. 

Water Cycle is a continuous and constant movement of water on, above and below the surface of the earth.” Since water means life, it is best to know how water moves to produce water for human consumption and its essence. 

The water cycle circulates around us through three different stages from solids of soil or grounds of the earth, through liquid forms of rivers, lakes, and ocean or open seas to gaseous forms or vapors of air and clouds. In this way, water is formed in a cycle that definitely gives life to humans by giving out fresh water to drink.

Water Cycle Affects Us

Through its cycle, everything on earth is being cared by because water works around the world. It gives importance to new beginnings in life between plants and animals. Living things need water to survive, and the water cycle does the job. It distributes or gives water to plants and animals especially humans that makes it the most vital and important process in sustaining life itself through three different processes of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. 

The water cycle is important in giving fresh water in all living things. Through evaporation, water goes up from bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and oceans and is condensed to form clouds or vapor. After which it will then go back to the ground in the form of rain that gives life to plants and animals that will then be consumed by humans. 

The water cycle is also responsible for the climate too! It acts as a force that drives climate and its changes that follows. Temperature is regulated through the process especially during the evaporation stage. 

It is also called the hydrologic cycle wherein the water in this cycle never leaves the earth atmosphere. It just goes round in a circle for this changing life and to support life as it is. It is called the hydrologic cycle too because of its continuous repetition or never-ending cycle of water from evaporation, condensation to precipitation. 

Water comprises almost 78% of the earth and around 97% of which is from the ocean which is salty and is not good for human consumption that’s why water cycle is there to help the process of providing fresh water in order to provide life.

Stages of Water Cycle

Water is re-circulated through these three processes or stages namely evaporation, condensation and precipitation that picture out the whole process of the water cycle itself.

Evaporation

Evaporation is the process of which liquid state is turned into gas or vapor during the cycle. It is known or fact that water bodies such as the ocean, rivers, and lakes contribute almost 90% of the atmospheric vapor through evaporation leaving the remaining 10% to plants contribution to it. Not mentioning the sublimation process or the transition states that contribute an only small amount of it in the atmosphere as vapor through its process where it skips the liquid or the immediate state but instead, it turns a solid state like ice or snow directly into gas. 
Almost all of those evaporated water came from the ocean itself because out of those water bodies around us; the ocean is the biggest of them all. It contributes almost 80% of the water vapor in the atmosphere.

Factors That Affect Evaporation

Heat or energy is the cause of water from the surface to evaporate. It evaporates faster at boiling point compared to the freezing point where water molecules move slower. During the evaporation, process heat is being removed from the environment. It is the most essential element during the evaporation process of the water cycle. 
The fundamental factors that affect vaporization are as per the following:
  • Vaporization increases with an increase in the surface region. When the surface area is increased, then the amount of liquid that is exposed to air is larger. 
  • It increases with an increase in temperature. The water molecules move swiftly when the water is heated. This causes the molecules to escape faster. Good example is that boiling water evaporates faster than fresh tap water.
  • Vaporization increases with the decline in humidity. Humidity means the amount of vapor exists in the air. The air around can only hold a certain amount of vapor at a particular time and temperature. 
  • It increases with an increase in wind speed. Particles of vapor leave when the speed of wind increases. This results in a decrease in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. For instance, we use hand dryers to dry our hands.

Condensation 

Opposite of evaporation goes the second phase of the water cycle, the condensation or the conversion of atmospheric gas to liquid or water. In this stage, clouds are formed. Condensation is the one responsible for forming clouds which hold the rain for us. Here cool temperature is needed in order for it to happen. 
Clouds are formed when water vapor mixes up with aerosol or particulate matter in the atmosphere. Here, during the condensation process, more and more bumping of the water vapor and the aerosol happen until precipitation then takes place or that of saturation. Saturation is the time wherein water in the form of rain comes down, or that of tiny ice or snow fall into the ground. Clouds move in the air as they freely distribute rain water or precipitation all around the globe for us to survive.

Factors That Affect Condensation

The fundamental factors that affect condensation are as per the following:
  • The water vapor content of the air. This is caused by regular living activities such as washing, cooking, bathing, etc., and can be controlled by the use of extractor fans, cowlings, and ventilation at suitable places.
  • Within room temperature. This can be controlled in some way by replacing single glazing with energy-efficient double or triple glazing, in this way maintaining a higher surface temperature of the glass on the room side.This will help to retain the room’s air temperature, which, along with adequate ventilation, will enable the room to hold more water vapor without condensing.
  • Outside temperature. This can’t be controlled, but its effect on the inside room temperature can be lessened by the installation of energy efficient double or triple glazing.
  • Internal and external temperature variation. This can’t be controlled as the main variant is the outside temperature. But, this variation may also be affected by building direction, localized atmospheric conditions, shelter from nearby trees or buildings, air currents, wind speeds and nearby vegetation.

Precipitation 

The last stage of the water cycle now is the precipitation. It is the process wherein heavy clouds are getting heavier and most likely falls in the form of rain, snow or hail. Here, aerosol or particulate matter plays an important role. They usually bump each other together with the water vapor until it falls as rain into the ground. 
In this cycle, it simply shows the importance of every stage just to give us fresh water to drink. A human can’t live without water nor can earth survive without it. Water cycle recycles not only water itself but also some nutrients that human needs too. After which, it will then again be evaporated from the ground to water vapor in the cycle.

Factors That Affect Precipitation

Different areas of the Earth’s surface obtain different amounts of precipitation.Heavy precipitation takes place near the equator and decreases with the increase in the latitude. Like towards polar regions. Main source of moisture for precipitation is evaporation from oceans. Therefore, precipitation tends to be heavier near coastlines. Since the lifting of air masses is the cause of almost all precipitation, the amount and frequency of rain is generally greater on the windward side of the mountain. As down-slope motion of air results in decrease in humidity, thus the opposite sides of barriers  usually experience relatively light precipitation. High amount of precipitation is reported at higher elevations.
Listed below the fundamental factors that affect precipitation:
  • Latitude. It rains more in the areas near the equator than in the temperate zones and polar regions. The temperature is higher near the Equator so there is more evaporation. 
  • Altitude. It rains more in high areas than in low areas.  
  • Level of humidity. It rains more on the coast than inland. Seas are the source of humidity.

The water cycle moves other cycles. 

The water cycle is significant in itself, and patterns of water cycling and rainfall have critical effects on Earth's ecosystems. In any case, rainfall and surface runoff additionally assume significant parts in the cycling of different components. These incorporate carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. Specifically, surface runoff helps move components from earthbound, land-based, to aquatic biological systems.

Water and the Environment 

Water can get polluted through human activities and mishaps like agricultural run-off, sewage, industrial waste and oil spills. Since water is essential for a system, whatever people put into the ground or sky through manufacturing can pollute water. As per the Environmental Protection Agency, the normal U.S. household uses around 50 gallons of water a day for each individual. In medieval eras, the estimated water use per individual was 5 gallons for each day.

Deforestation 

The removal of trees (deforestation) is majorly affecting the water cycle, as local and global atmospheres change. 
Ordinarily, trees discharge water vapor when they transpire, delivering a limited humidity. This water vapor at that point evaporates into the air where it collects before precipitating back to the Earth as rain, sleet or snow. Deforestation in one area can along these lines influence the climate in another area provided that trees are cut down, there is less water to be evaporated into the air and in this way less rain
At a local level, the land becomes drier and less steady. At the point when it rains, rather than the water being absorbed, there is expanded run-off and draining. Regions can turn out to be more inclined to droughts and flooding, affecting plants and animals, and furthermore people living close deforested regions.

Water in Our Lives

Water cycle as mentioned earlier is responsible for giving out fresh and usable water for human consumption. As it undergoes those series of processes or stages, salty water is now turned into fresh water and being purified getting rid of those impurities on it along. In short, water cycle helps in cleaning water for human use not only for humans alone but for all living things plants and animals as a whole. 

It is a fact that out of those portion of earth’s water holdings, only less than 1% is fresh water that is safe to drink. So since it is the most vital need in human life, we need not only leave it alone to nature or the water cycle itself but rather let us all unite and help Mother Nature produce more fresh water for human use by preserving the ecosystem and the earth itself. If we continuously destroy our bodies of water around us with water pollution, maybe there will come a time that the water cycle could never eradicate those harmful elements that will turn out to be hazardous to human life already. Let's all save the earth. Preserve and conserve water.




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