The funny thing is that the water that falls from the sky as rain today, might have fallen last week, last month, last year or thousands of years ago. It is the greatest recycler of all time!
There are four main stages in the water cycle. They are evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. Let's look at each of these stages.
Evaporation: This is when warmth from the sun causes water from oceans, lakes, streams, ice and soils to rise into the air and turn into water vapour (gas). Water vapour droplets join together to make clouds!
Condensation: This is when water vapour in the air cools down and turns back into liquid water.
Precipitation: This is when water (in the form of rain, snow, hail or sleet) falls from clouds in the sky.
Collection: This is when water that falls from the clouds as rain, snow, hail or sleet, collects in the oceans, rivers, lakes, streams. Most will infiltrate (soak into) the ground and will collect as underground water.
The water cycle is powered by the sun's energy and by gravity. The sun kickstarts the whole cycle by heating all the Earth's water and making it evaporate. Gravity makes the moisture fall back to Earth.