Issues Affecting the Climate of St. Louis and the Bi-State Area

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One of the primary earth systems is the water, or hydrological cycle. This cycle represents the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the earth. It is a natural process that, when balanced, regulates the available water on the planet in a way that is not only relatively consistent, but overtime will allow for a balanced ecosystem. The water cycle, in general, takes water from one reservoir or holding area (say clouds) and allows it to move into another through various processes. The actual cycle moves continually through the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. The water cycle also helps regulate and control temperature, which in turn helps regulate weather patterns. The basic water cycle may be viewed as a four stage model: Evaporation (transpiration) Heat from the sun warms water from rivers, lakes, and the ocean to turn into vapor or steam; leaving the reservoir and moving upwards into the atmosphere. (Plants transpire, or lose water from their leaves). Condensation As the evaporated water vapor gets colder rising into the atmosphere, it changes back into different levels of liquid clouds of different types. Precipitation Depending on the temperature, season, type of cloud, and other conditions, precipitation occurs when the water that has evaporated becomes so heavy the clouds cannot hold it anymore and it falls back to earth as rain, hail, sleet, or snow (The Water Cycle, 2009; Wilkinson, 2007). In our hypothetical day in a St Louis,

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