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Part X : The Environment

Environmental Factors Appropriate for Life
Soil
What is soil made of?
Life in the Soil
Environment and Distribution
The Water Cycle
The Globe and the Water Cycle
The Seasons
The Seasons and the Sun
How Seasons Influence the Biosphere
Human Influences on the Environment

Topic Chapters Index

 

North Sea Coast, Filey © Shirley Burchill

North Sea Coast, Filey, UK

 

Over to You!

Water is essential to life. Approximately 60% of your body is liquid water. No human could survive for more than three days without anything to drink.

How many different uses do you have for water from day to day?

On a separate piece of paper, list as many ways as you can think of that you use water.

 

Fact File No.43

Salt water contains 3% salt. Fresh water contains less than 0,001% salt.

WATER

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The Earth and Water

One of the characteristics of the planet Earth which makes it unique is the fact that it has liquid water on its surface. Most of the water in the Earth's hydrosphere is found in the oceans (more than 97%). About 2% of the water is frozen as ice and snow, mostly near the North and South Poles. The rest of the water, less than 1 %, is underground, in lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, marshes and swamps' and inside the living organisms that make up the biosphere.

The oceans and the seas are vast bodies of water covering over two thirds of the Earth's surface. Rain falls on the Earth's surface and collects in rivers which can eventually enter the seas. It could be thought that water only enters the seas or oceans and never comes out. This idea raises a few questions:

 

Why is it that the seas do not continually increase in size?

If water from the rivers keeps entering the seas from the land, then where does the river water come from?

Why does the supply of water in the rivers not dry up all over the world?

Rain keeps falling on the seas and on land, but where does the water in the clouds come from?

 

The seas and oceans contain salt water. The water found on land is fresh water. This also raises a certain number of questions:

 

Where does the supply of fresh water come from?

If fresh water keeps entering the seas then why do the seas not become diluted?

What makes salt water salty?

 

Water can be found everywhere in the environment: in the atmosphere, in soil, in plants and animals, in the human body. Water is essential to daily living. The water which comes out of the kitchen tap seems never to run out. Where does all that water come from?

The planet Earth may be considered as a closed system where the water within it is continuously recycled. No water enters this recycled on Earth for millions of system from space and no water is lost from it yea's. to space. The water people drink today is millions of years old and it will continue to be recycled for millions of years. This cycle is called the water cycle.

 

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