Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Earth's water: less than you think!

By Donald Sensing

Wow, this graphic from Phys.org puts things into perspective. The question is: if you collected every drop of water on the planet and made a sphere from it, how big would the sphere be?

A lot smaller than you might think:

Earth has less water than you think
All the water on Earth would fit into a sphere 860 miles (1,385 km) wide. Credit: Jack Cook/WHOI/USGS
According to the U. S. Geological Survey, it would make a ball 860 miles (1,385 km) in diameter, about as wide edge-to-edge as the distance between Salt Lake City to Topeka, Kansas. That’s it. Take all the water on Earth and you’d have a blue sphere less than a third the size of the Moon.

Feeling a little thirsty?

And this takes into consideration all the Earth’s water… even the stuff humans can’t drink or directly access, like salt water, water vapor in the atmosphere and the water locked up in the ice caps. In fact, if you were to take into consideration only the fresh water on Earth (which is 2.5% of the total) you’d get a much smaller sphere… less than 100 miles (160 km) across.
The volume of this sphere is 332,869,307 cubic miles. It's still a lot of water!

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