Q:

How do you label a water cycle diagram?

A:

Quick Answer

The water, or hydrologic, cycle diagram is labeled by indicating the six processes that make up this cycle where they belong on the diagram. The six processes that typically go on the diagram are condensation, infiltration, runoff, evaporation, precipitation and transpiration.

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Full Answer

The diagram may have plants or land on it, and a body of water. Arrows pointing up from the land indicate transpiration, or the evaporation of water from the leaves of plants, while arrows pointing up from the water body indicate evaporation. In both cases, the water turns to a gas.

Once the gaseous water vapor reaches a high enough altitude, it cools off and condenses, making clouds. This is the condensation part of the water vapor cycle. Once the temperature drops even further, along with changes in atmospheric pressure, the precipitation part of the water cycle occurs. This is generally indicated on the diagram by a gray cloud with an arrow pointing downwards, indicating rain or snow. Sleet and hail are also considered forms of precipitation.

Once precipitation has occurred, the next step in the water cycle is infiltration and runoff. Runoff is indicated by arrows pointing to the water body, rivers or streams. Infiltration is indicated by the precipitation soaking into the ground.

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