Energy from the sun powers the water cycle. It causes water to EVAPORATE from oceans, rivers, lakes and even puddles. “Evaporate” means water turns from liquid to gas, or “vapor,” and then rises into the atmosphere. Another form of evaporation is TRANSPIRATION, which is when water given off through the pores of plants and animals joins the atmosphere. CONDENSATION happens when the water vapor condenses around and clings to fine particles of air. As the air gets moister, droplets that form clouds get larger and larger. Eventually, PRECIPITATION returns these droplets to earth as rain, snow, sleet or hail. The cycle can then begin again.