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Total global saltwater and freshwater estimates
The water cycle describes how water evaporates from the Earth’s surface, rises into the atmosphere, cools, condenses to form clouds, and falls again to the surface as precipitation. About 75% of the energy (or heat) in the global atmosphere is transferred through the evaporation of water from the Earth’s surface. On land, water evaporates from the ground, mainly from soils, plants (i.e., transpiration), lakes, and streams. In fact, approximately 15% of the water entering the atmosphere is from evaporation from Earth’s land surfaces and evapotranspiration from plants. Such evaporation cools the Earth’s surface, cools the lower atmosphere, and provides water to the atmosphere to form clouds.
b. Earth’s fresh water :
Of all the water that exists on our planet, roughly 97% is saltwater and less than 3% is freshwater.
Precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls quickly from a cloud. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, graupel (soft hail or snow pellets), and hail.
d. Global view:
Understanding the role of precipitation in Earth’s water cycle and how it interacts with other Earth systems requires a global view. The distribution of water throughout the atmosphere and how it moves, changing between its solid, liquid, and gaseous forms, is a powerful vehicle for redistributing Earth’s energy and influences the behavior of the planet’s weather, climate, and other environmental systems.
planet has more water
In photographs taken from space, we can see that our planet has more water than land. It is unexpected and somewhat inconceivable that less than three percent of Earth’s water is fresh water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, most of that three percent is inaccessible. Over 68 percent of the fresh water on Earth is found in icecaps and glaciers, and just over 30 percent is found in ground water. Only about 0.3 percent of our fresh water is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers, and swamps.
Of all the water on Earth, more than 99 percent of Earth’s water is unusable by humans and many other living things! It seems extraordinary that the water that supports all terrestrial, as well as aquatic, life on our planet is actually so scarce. With this stunning realization comes a recognition that we have to utilize this resource very wisely. An important first step is to educate ourselves and future generations of citizens.
It provides a solid introduction to fresh water in an accessible and reader-friendly manner. In addition to general information about fresh water, the guide includes numerous education features, such as teaching tips and student thinking, that help to connect the content to classroom practice.
This is due to the prevalence of water on the planet’s surface. While water itself is not blue, water gives off blue light upon reflection.
But how much of our planet is made up of water, exactly? Like most facts pertaining to our world, the answer is a little more complicated than you might think, and takes into account a number of different qualifications.
Sources of Water:
In simplest terms, water makes up about 71% of the Earth’s surface, while the other 29% consists of continents and islands.
Of that fresh water, almost all of it takes the form of ice: 69% of it, to be exact. If you could melt all that ice, and the Earth’s surface was perfectly smooth, the sea levels would rise to an altitude of 2.7 km.
Aside from the water that exists in ice form, there is also the staggering amount of water that exists beneath the Earth’s surface. If you were to gather all the Earth’s fresh water together as a single mass (as shown in the image above) it is estimated that it would measure some 1,386 million cubic kilometers (km3) in volume.
Meanwhile, the amount of water that exists as groundwater, rivers, lakes, and streams would constitute just over 10.6 million km3, which works out to a little over 0.7%. Seen in this context, the limited and precious nature of freshwater becomes truly clear.
Volume vs. Mass:
But how much of Earth is water – i.e. how much water contributes to the actual mass of the planet? This includes not just the surface of the Earth, but inside as well. In terms of volume, all of the water on Earth works out to about 1.386 billion cubic kilometers (km³) or 332.5 million cubic miles (mi³) of space.
But in terms of mas, scientists calculate that the oceans on Earth weight about 1.35 x 1018 metric tonnes (1.488 x 1018 US tons), which is the equivalent of 1.35 billion trillion kg, or 2976 trillion trillion pounds. This is just 1/4400 the total mass of the Earth, which means that while the oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, they only account for 0.02% of our planet’s total mass.