Lakes 101 – the Water Cycle

Many of us learned about the water cycle back in elementary school.  We generally remember that rainfall soaks into the ground to recharge groundwater or runs off into our streams and eventually flows into the ocean.  But the water cycle is oh so much more interesting than that!  How the water cycle works and where water is captured within the cycle has important implications for our lakes and streams, particularly as the climate continues to warm.

Can’t remember how clouds form?  Didn’t know that plants play an important role in the water cycle? Never heard of sublimation (or at least didn’t connect it to the water cycle)?  The United States Geological Service (USGS) has a series of informative webpages that dig deep into the water cycle.  There is a set for adults and one for kids.  Both are great if you are looking for a quick answer to a question.  I learned, for example, that sublimation is the change from the solid to gaseous forms of matter, without first becoming liquid, and can happen to snow under the right conditions.

All the water on the planet has been here since the planet first formed and is continually being (re)cycled through the water cycle.  It’s something we take for granted, but really should learn more about.