What is The Water Cycle For Kids
This page explains The Water Cycle for kids or younger adults.
The Water Cycle is the process by which water is transported from the sea to land and back to the sea again. The Water cycle is powered by the sun and has been happening for billions of years. Without the water cycle we would have no weather, no plants and a barren, lifeless planet.
How the Water Cycle Works for Kids
As i have said earlier the water cycle is powered by The Sun. It starts out at Sea when the suns warmth heats up the seawater. Eventually some of the seawater will evaporate and turn from a liquid into a gas – water vapor. This water vapor is what we see as a cloud –
This water vapor groups together and forms a cloud. This cloud is then pushed towards the Sea by an on-shore breeze. The onshore breeze is created because the land is hotter than the surrounding sea, when this happens the air above the land rises due to its heat and leaves a partial vacuum, the air from the sea is then drawn inland, this creates the onshore breeze –
When the cloud reaches land things begin to get interesting. Usually terrain near the coastline will start at sea level (the beach) and begin to rise as you move further inland. This causes the cloud to follow the height of the terrain –
When the cloud follows the terrain it is forced to rise. Higher up the air grows colder, cold air cannot hold the cloud in its water vapor state and the water begins to re-condense back into its liquid form and this makes – RAIN
Rain falls on the mountainside the vast majority of it will run straight back into the sea within a few hours/days through rivers or small tributaries –
To see where the minority or the water goes we need to cut a section through the mountainside as this will give us an internal view –
As you can see from the image below, some of the water is trapped in hollows in the mountain, these will act like miniature seas and their water may be evaporated by the sun and re-enter back into the water cycle as clouds which will fall as rain somewhere else.
Some of the water may also end up entering into the groundwater system, this is a series of underwater rivers, lakes, caves and caverns, all of which eventually return back to the sea –
Water that enters into the groundwater system can take up to 10,000 years to return back to the sea, it can even take one human lifetime for water here to travel a distance of 1 mile. Eventually though, all the water will return to the sea again and will begin the water cycle again by being evaporated by the sun –