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Distribution of the Earth’s water
Earth is known as the “Blue Planet” because 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Water also exists below land surface and as water vapor in the air. Water is a finite source. The bottled water that is consumed today might possibly be the same water that once trickled down the back of a wooly mammoth. The Earth is a closed system, meaning that very little matter, including water, ever leaves or enters the atmosphere; the water that was here billions of years ago is still here now. But, the Earth cleans and replenishes the water supply through the hydrologic cycle.
The earth has an abundance of water, but unfortunately, only a small percentage (about 0.3 percent), is even usable by humans. The other 99.7 percent is in the oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating in the atmosphere. Still, much of the 0.3 percent that is useable is unattainable. Most of the water used by humans comes from rivers. The visible bodies of water are referred to as surface water. The majority of fresh water is actually found underground as soil moisture and in aquifers. Groundwater can feed the streams, which is why a river can keep flowing even when there has been no precipitation. Humans can use both ground and surface water.
Distribution of the water on Earth
- Ocean water: 97.2 percent
- Glaciers and other ice: 2.15 percent
- Groundwater,: 0.61 percent
- Fresh water lakes: 0.009 percent
- Inland seas: 0.008 percent
- Soil Moisture: 0.005 percent
- Atmosphere: 0.001 percent
- Rivers: 0.0001 percent.
(Reference figure: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html)
(Source: Nace, USGS, 1967 and The Hydrologic Cycle (Pamphlet), USGS, 1984)
Surface water is far easier to reach, so this becomes the most common source of potable water. Problems also exist in contamination of the water supplies. This further limits the amount of water available for human consumption.
Surface waters can be simply described as the water that is on the surface of the Earth. This includes the oceans, rivers and streams, lakes, and reservoirs. Surface waters are very important. They constitute approximately 80 percent of the water used on a daily basis. In 1990, the United States alone used approximately 327,000 billion gallons of surface water a day. Surface waters make up the majority of the water used for public supply and irrigation. It plays less of a role in mining and livestock industries.
Oceans, which are the largest source of surface water, comprise approximately 97 percent of the Earth’s surface water. However, since the oceans have high salinity, the water is not useful as drinking water. Efforts have been made to remove the salt from the water (desalination), but this is a very costly endeavor. Salt water is used in the mining process, in industry, and in power generation. The oceans also play a vital role in the hydrologic cycle, in regulating the global climate, and in providing habitats for thousands of marine species.
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Groundwater(what percentage of the earth’s freshwater is available for drinking)
Ninety-eight percent of Earth’s available fresh water is groundwater. It is about 60 times as plentiful as the fresh water found in lakes and streams. Water in the ground travels through pores in soil and rock, and in fractures and weathered areas of bedrock. The amount of pore space present in rock and soil is known as porosity. The ability to travel through the rock or soil is known as permeability. The permeability and porosity measurements in rock and/or soil can determine the amount of water that can flow through that particular medium. A “high” permeability and porosity value means that the water can travel quickly.
Conclusion(what percentage of the earth’s freshwater is available for drinking)
Water on Earth is a finite source. Protecting the water means protecting all forms of the Groundwater can be found in aquifers. water found on Earth. Water at the surface, under the ground, in vapor form, and as precipitation. Pollution from using fossil fuels can impact all forms of water (from crude oil leaks to acid rain generated from coal burning). Acid rain falls onto the land and flows into the surface water, back into the ground, and back into the air. It can be an endless cycle. . Most of the water on Earth is saline. Fresh water is and will be in demand and become a very valuable resource.
The water cycle
The hydrologic cycle or water cycle is a graphic representation of how water is recycled through the environment. Water molecules remain constant, though they may change between solid, liquid, and gas forms. Drops of water in the ocean evaporate, which is the process of liquid water becoming water vapor. Evaporation can occur from water surfaces, land surfaces, and snow fields into the air as water vapor.
Glaciers and ice caps
Glaciers and icecaps are referred to as storehouses for fresh water. They cover 10 percent of the world’s land mass. These glaciers are primarily located in Greenland and Antarctica. The glaciers in Greenland almost cover the entire land mass. Glaciers begin forming because of snowfall accumulation. When snowfall exceeds the rate of melting in a certain area, glaciers begin to form. This melting occurs in the summer. The weight of snow accumulating compresses the snow to form ice. Because these glaciers are so heavy, they can slowly move their way down hills.
Porosity and permeability of the sediment, soil, and bedrock in the area also affects the recharge rate of the groundwater. This means that in some areas, the groundwater can be pumped out faster than it can replenish itself. This creates a number of problems. One of these problems is called “drawdown,” a lowering of the aquifer near a pumping well. This can occur in areas where the well is pumping faster than the groundwater aquifer is recharged. Drawdown creates voids in the bedrock and can lead to additional land subsidence or sinkholes (as there is no longer water present and the void cannot hold the weight of the material above and collapses).