Q: What is the definition of precipitation in the water cycle?
What is the definition of precipitation in the water cycle?
Precipitation is water that falls from clouds to Earth’s surface. Water droplets in clouds fall to Earth when they become too large to stay aloft. The water falls as rain if the air is warm. If the air is cold, the water may freeze and fall as snow, sleet, or hail. Most precipitation falls into the oceans. Some falls on land.
Runoff is precipitation that flows over the surface of the land. This water may travel to a river, lake, or ocean. Runoff may pick up fertilizer and other pollutants and deliver them to a water body. In this way, runoff may pollute bodies of water.
Infiltration is the process by which water soaks into the ground. Some of the water may seep deep underground. Some may stay in the soil, where plants can absorb it with their roots.