Water Cycle

During this biogeochemical cycle process, water changes its state from one phase to another and the total number of water particles remains the same. The changes of the state of water include evaporation, melting,  freezing, sublimation, condensation, and deposition. All these changes require the application of energy.

Listed below are the different stages of the water cycle.

Various Stages of Water Cycle:

Water Cycle


When solid ice gains thermal energy, it changes its state from solid ice to liquid water in a process called melting. For example–Ice cubes in a cold drink gradually melt.


By adding thermal energy to solid it converts its state from a solid to a gas. During sublimation phase solid directly converts to a gas without attending its liquid state.         For example, on cool, dry winter day snow on the banks shrink, or ice constantly evaporates into vapors, without becoming slushy and wet.


Evaporation occurs when water receives complete thermal energy required for converting its phase from the liquid (water) to a gas (water vapor). In this stage, water vapor gets mixed with the air and disappear. For example: During transpiration, the excess amount of water molecules present in plants are evaporated into the air in the form of vapors.


In this phase, water vapor loses thermal energy and becomes water. Rain and dew are examples of condensation. For example, a cold water bottle kept outside on a hot summer day often collects water droplets. This is because water vapor in the air condenses when it is cooled by the cold water bottle.


When thermal energy is removed from water vapor it changes to solid. Deposition occurs when water vapor changes its state directly from a gas to a solid and it is the reverse of sublimation. For example, deposition occurs high in the atmosphere where the temperature is very low. In these conditions, water vapor forms snow without attending its liquid state.


Precipitation can be simply explained as the forms of moisture arising from clouds and falling to the ground. It is the portion of the water cycle in which atmospheric water vapor gets condensed, forming large water droplets and fall to earth with the help of the gravity.

In low-temperature regions, the surface water gets frozen up and get changed into solid ice as ice is slightly denser than water. This is the reason behind why lakes and ponds develop an ice layer that floats on the water during the winter season.

Freezing, condensation, and deposition are processes that occur as a result of a decrease in the thermal energy of water particles.

Changes with the Seasons

As the spring arrives the snow melts and flows into the different water bodies- streams, rivers, finally into the ocean and few amount of melted snow sinks into the ground, becoming groundwater. This surface water evaporates and the water cycle is repeated.

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Practise This Question

What are the processes involved in the formation of rain?