How Does the Water Cycle Affect Weather and Climate?
Have you ever wondered why different places on Earth experience different weather conditions at the same time of the year? This is one of the most amazing aspects of the Earth! So, how does it occur? To answer this question, you need to understand these three things – Water Cycle, Weather, and Climate.
Water Cycle, Weather, And Climate
Let me begin with astonishing information – the Earth’s water is constantly in motion. Did you know that? This movement is accomplished by changing the state from liquid to vapor, vapor to solid ice, and solid ice to liquid again.
This circle of water has been active since the creation of the Earth and water. And we all know that water is life. That means where there is no water; there is no life. So, you can probably imagine the condition of the world without this water cycle.
Now, you might ask where this water cycle starts from. Generally speaking, it is more like a loop and a continuous process. That is, there is no specific starting point.
Let’s begin with the oceans, the largest water bodies in the world. The oceans contain the most amount of water on the Earth.
There’s one important thing you should know before we get further into the water cycle. The sun is the driving force in the water cycle.
Water Cycle Effect on Weather and Climate
The first step here is the sun heating the water bodies in the world. As a result, a large amount of water is evaporated. This vapor reaches the atmosphere with rising air.
In the sky, where the temperature is relatively cooler, this water vapor is condensed. And they form clouds. These clouds are drifted around the world with air currents.
When these clouds get cold enough, they again come down to the Earth as precipitation like rain and snow.
On the other hand, the ice caps and glaciers of the world are also major sources of water. These sources store water in a frozen state for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, when the temperature of the Earth rises, the frozen water sources meltdown. And the melted water finds its way to the oceans through rivers.
You should also know that the Earth also absorbs a lot of water – from rain and rivers. The absorbed water is stored underground and called underground water. Besides, water is also stored in lakes and other water bodies as freshwater.
The underground water is also a large source of freshwater. The water from rain, rivers, lakes, etc., are soaked by the Earth and thus stored underground. And the underground water again comes to the Earth’s surface through springs.
In this way, the water keeps on moving – changing places and states. It’s more like several loops. The water returns to the place or state where it began its journey. This is the water cycle.
Global Water Distribution
If you’ve understood the water cycle, you could imagine that different parts of the Earth contain different amounts of water. As I’ve mentioned earlier, oceans, rivers, ice caps and glaciers, underground water, etc., are the major water sources.
Let’s go a little deeper. You would be amazed to learn that of the total water available on Earth, around 97% is saline water. And the rest is fresh water. Can you imagine that?
Of the freshwater, around 68% is in a frozen state like the ice caps and glaciers. And of the rest, 32% freshwater, 30% is groundwater. The rivers, lakes, and other freshwater bodies consist only 0.007% of the total water!
Influence of Water Cycle on Weather And Climate
As we’ve gone through the definitions of the water cycle, weather, and climate, let’s look at a glance at how this water cycle affects the weather and climate in a particular region:
The water cycle can create more clouds in a region. Consequently, the temperature will fall.
Rainfall and snow are results of the water cycle and can lead to severe weather conditions.
Excessive rainfall due to the water cycle can cause floods.
Deficient rainfall, lack of adequate water sources can lead to draught in a given region.
These are some of the basic weather conditions that are directly influenced by the water cycle. And from the definition of climate, we know that the average of weather conditions in a particular area or region over a very long period of time is considered the climate of that region.
So, the weather conditions can ultimately influence the climate. Isn’t it natural that an area with a colder air mass is completely different from an area with warmer air masses? And, whether the air mass should be warm or cold is also dependent on the water cycle.
So, what do you think? Does the water cycle affect the weather and climate?
The simplest answer is yes. The water cycle affects the weather and climate of a particular region in multiple ways. I would say the cycle affects these two, but it is a major factor that determines the weather pattern and climate.