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Change of a liquid into the gaseous state; in particular, the process by which liquid water enters the atmosphere as water vapour. Evaporation, mostly from the sea and from vegetation, replenishes the humidity of the air. It is an important part of the exchange of energy in the Earth-atmosphere system that produces atmospheric motion, and therefore weather and climate. The rate of evaporation depends on the temperature difference between the evaporating surface and the air, the relative humidity, and wind.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on evaporation, visit Britannica.com.