Picture Banner for SECC K12 Site

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle extended definition

About 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water.  This water evaporates and condenses into clouds.  The clouds cause precipitation and this water falls back to the earth’s surface, ready to start the cycle again. 

Stability extended definition

Atmospheric stability tells you how likely it is air will rise and form clouds and precipitation.  Unstable  air is likely to rise and form tall clouds and often precipitation.  Stable air means any air that rises up will sink back to where it came from.

Lifting Mechanisms extended definition

Lifting mechanisms are forms of lift that cause air to rise. In this topic we cover orographic lift, frontal lift, convergence, and convective lift.

How Clouds Form extended definition

Clouds form when moist, warm rising air cools and expands in the atmosphere.  The water vapor in the air condenses to form tiny water droplets which are the basis of clouds.

Precipitation Types extended definition

There are many types of precipitation.  Rain and drizzle are the only liquid types; the freezing types are snow, sleet, freezing rain, and hail.  Hail is unique because it is frozen precipitation that generally only falls from thunderstorms in the summer.

Cloud Seeding extended definition

Cloud seeding is the process where substances like dry ice and silver iodide are put into clouds in an attempt to make precipitation fall.  Cloud seeding has also been used to dissipate fog and weaken some storms.

Last modified date: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 2:51pm