34 terms

Water Cycle Terms

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Evaporation
- Process by which a liquid becomes a gas
Condensation
the process of changing from a gaseous to a liquid or state
Precipitation
the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
Transpiration
loss of water from a plant through its leaves
Infiltration
seepage of water into soil or rock
Percolation
the slow movement of water through pores in soil or permeable rock
Surface runoff
water which runs along the surface into collection points (streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc)
Ground Water
water found beneath Earth's surface
Water Table
the top of the saturated zone
Discharge
waters that are emptying from one moving source (stream or river) into another moving or still source (river or lake)
Aquifer
a rock layer that stores and allows the flow of ground water
Evapotranspiration
evaporation from plants
Permeability
a rock's ability to let water through it
Impermeable
a rock that tends to stop the flow of water
Water cycle
The continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back
Humidity
the amount of moisture in the air
Relative humidity
the percentage of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount the air could hold at a given temperature
Psychrometer
Instrument used to measure relative humidity that has two thermometers (wet bulb and dry bulb)
Dew Point
the temperature at which the water vapor in the air becomes saturated and condensation begins
Cirrus
Wispy, feathery clouds
Cumulus
clouds that look like fluffy, rounded piles of cotton
Stratus
Clouds that form in flat layers.
Rain Gauge
Open ended tube that collects rainfall
Rain
Most common form of liquid precipitation
Sleet
Ice particles smaller than 5 millimeters in diameter
Snow
precipitation falling from clouds in the form of ice crystals
Hail
Ice pellets larger than 5 millimeters in diameter formed in cumulonimbus clouds by strong updrafts of wind
Precipitation
any form of water that falls from clouds and reaches Earth's surface
Fog
a stratus cloud that forms when air is cooled to its dew point near the ground
Virga
Precipitation that begins falling to the Earth but evaporates before reaching the surface.
Coalescence
when water droplets fuse to create larger water droplets, or when water droplets freeze onto ice crystals
cloud seeding
encouraging rainfall by seeding the air with condensation nuclei
freezing rain
rain that freezes when it hits a cold surface
drought
a long period without rain