January 19, 2022

Dubai Week

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What is the amount of water in the Earth’s atmosphere?

Earth is called the “blue planet” for its abundant water supply. Unlike other bodies in the solar system, liquid water is abundant on Earth, allowing millions of organisms to thrive.

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According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), about 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and 96.5% of the planet’s water supply is found in the oceans. But water does not just stay at the bottom, it is part of the water cycle (also called the hydraulic cycle), it moves in the atmosphere.

Simply put, billions of gallons of water, mostly in the form of steam, are now in the sky, and if it all fell at once, it would cause some major problems for millions of people.

According to the US Geological Survey, the total volume of water on Earth is estimated at 332.5 million cubic miles (1.4 billion cubic kilometers). More specifically, one cubic mile of water contains approximately 1.1 trillion gallons, which is enough to fill 1.66 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

As a result of the hydraulic cycle, Earth’s water does not stay in one place for long, evaporating, evaporating, forming clouds and then returning to the surface in the form of rain. Then the cycle starts again.

Encyclopedia Britannica states that evaporated water stays in the atmosphere for up to 10 days. This means that the atmosphere is actually immersed in steam.

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Frederick Fabry, director of the Department of the Environment and associate professor at the Stewart Marshall Radar Laboratory, said: “On average, about 30 mm of rain falls at any point on the earth’s in the form of vapor. Atmospheric and Marine Sciences at McGill University in Canada. This represents about 25 kilograms of water per square meter, mostly in the form of vapor. “

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Given that the Earth’s area is about 197 million square miles (510 million square kilometers), Fabri explained that there is about 37.5 million gallons of water in the atmosphere. He said that if all these masses collapsed at once, it would raise the size of the world’s ocean by about 3.8 cm.

While it is not possible for all of this steam to fall at once, such a dramatic rise in sea level would have catastrophic consequences.

According to the Climate Change Post, if global sea level rises by only 5 cm, there are already low-lying cities in India such as Mumbai and Kochi, Abidjan on the Ivory Coast and Jakarta in Indonesia with a population of over 28 million. Is in danger. For coastal flooding, it will be “significantly affected”.

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According to a 2017 study published in scientific reports, if sea levels rise by 5 to 10 cm, the frequency of floods will double in various regions, “especially in the tropics”.

If all the water in the atmosphere were spinning spontaneously in some way, it would not fall evenly around the world because some parts of the earth are wetter than others.

Fabri noted: “The amount of water in the atmosphere is controlled by the equilibrium flow in and out of the atmosphere. The flow to the atmosphere is controlled by evaporation from the surface, and it depends on whether there is water on the surface, as well as the amount of energy that water needs to evaporate from the surface, and that heat comes from the surface.” Evaporation is high in the warm oceans, while landforms in the Arctic are small. “

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The average amount of water in the atmosphere varies depending on the season and location, but in general, “tropical oceans and humid tropics have more vapor above them, and they move according to the seasons, with Arctic terrain or high mountains at least” to retain water. The best, “said Fabri.

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Other influencing factors include geography and terrain, i.e. the sloping terrain, which affects how quickly the air moves through the atmosphere as it cools. As a result, the mountains receive more than the share of precipitation, Fabry said. According to the US Geological Survey, this explains why it rained so much in Seattle, a town near the Cascade Mountains.

It is noteworthy that climate change may affect the amount of vapor in the atmosphere in the coming decades. “As the temperature rises, evaporation from the surface increases, as does the amount of water in the atmosphere,” Fabri said.

As a result, the acceleration of global warming can be visualized. Water vapor is the most effective greenhouse gas, and when it is high in the atmosphere it contributes to global warming and enhances the greenhouse effect.

Source: Direct Science