back to atmosphere

Vocabulary for Water Cycle


1. Condensation

 The process where water vapor changes from a gas to liquid water.

2. Water Cycle

 The movement of water between the atmosphere and Earth.  It includes: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Surface Runoff, Transpiration and Perspiration.

3. Transpiration

 When plants release water through pores in their leaves back into the atmosphere.

4. Groundwater

 All the water that soaks into the ground, found under the Earth's surface.

5. Cloud

 Millions of tiny water droplets or crystals.  They form when water vapor in the air condenses to form liquid water or ice crystals.  They can only form when dust particles and cool air are present**

6. Evaporation

 The process where liquid water changes to a gas as water vapor.

7. Cool Air

 Cool air is necessary for condensation to occur in the atmosphere and clouds to form.

8. Surface Runoff

 Water that cannot be absorbed into the surface (the ground is too dense) but runs along it.

9. Water Vapor

 When water is in the gas state.

10. Precipitation

 Any form of water that falls from clouds and reaches Earth's surface.  Rain, snow, sleet or hail.

11. Humidity

 The amount of water vapor in the air warm air can hold more water vapor than cool air.

12. Relative Humidity

**See chart on p. 56

 The percentage of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount of water that the air can hold at a particular temperature.

13. Dew Point

 The temperature at which condensation begins.

14. Perspiration When animals release water through pores in their skin back into the atmosphere. It is commonly known as sweat!