Water Distribution and Properties
70% of Earth’s surface is covered in water.
97% of water is located in the oceans.
3% of water is freshwater, most of the freshwater is located in the ice caps and glaciers.
Unique properties of water
Water has a high boiling point
A lot of energy is needed to evaporate water
Water dissolves many compounds
Water expands as it freezes
Water adheres to many solid surfaces
The places with the highest amount of freshwater are the places with high precipitation and small populations.
The places with the lowest amount of freshwater are the places with low precipitation and large populations.
The use of freshwater is growing at twice the rate of population growth.
Geologic feature that contains water in quantities sufficient to support a spring or well.
Holds 30 times more water in the US than all US lakes and rivers combined.
Confined Aquifer - an aquifer below the land that is saturated with water.
Recharge Zone - The area above an aquifer that supplies water.
Unconfined Aquifer - An aquifer where the upper water surface is at atmospheric pressure
Unsaturated Zone - The zone immediately below the land surface that is not totally saturated with water.
Water Permeability - The ability of a material to allow passage through rocks with water
Water Table - The level below that ground is saturated with water.
Types of Ice
Body of dense ice that only forms on land.
99% of glacial ice is contained in ice sheets in polar regions.
Largest reservoir of freshwater in the world.
Mass of glacial ice that is greater than 20,000 square miles in area.
The only ice sheets are Antarctica and Greenland.
Thick floating platform of ice that forms when a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface.
Only found in Antarctica, Greenland, and Canada
It floats on the ocean surface.
It is found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere.
71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in oceans.
More than half of this area is under 10,000 feet.
Oceans have a significant effect on the biosphere, because oceanic evaporation is the primary source of precipitation.
Heat is transferred to the equator by ocean currents.
Warm waters near the surface and cold water deeper in the ocean move by convection currents.
The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt
There is constant motion in the form of a global ocean.
Cold water sinks to the bottom of the ocean
Warm water rises to the surface.
Cold water will go south towards the Antarctic
Warm water will come back up to the Pacific
This conveyor belt helps regulate the amount of sea ice in polar regions.
Agricultural, Industrial, and Municipal Use
There are 3 types of water withdrawal
The rate of water consumption is growing twice as fast as population growth.
Water is a limited factor as it limits the amount of food that can be produced in a region.
Groundwater is the largest source of freshwater in the world.
Freshwater is being diverted into many different purposes.
Environmental consequences from this diversion can be
Concentration of salts and minerals and pollutants may increase
Can reduce the habitat for fish and can impact feeding and spawning success
Temperature and oxygen levels can increase.
A reduction of the native populations of animals and plants.