Our beautiful blue planet, as is well known, owes its name to the fact that much of its surface is covered with water , an essential resource for life on Earth. But how is it distributed? Distribution of water on Earth
In this post we are going to make a small introduction to this interesting question, going beyond what we all know from hearsay. Because, regardless of the fact that almost three-quarters of the planet are oceans, occupying 70 percent of its surface, the distribution of water is highly variable. On the one hand, the ocean is the source of most of the precipitation on the planet, and it is from the rain that the fresh water needs of plants, animals and people are satisfied. Distribution of water on Earth system
Interesting: Rainwater recovery systems
The hydrological cycle distributes water Distribution of water on Earth
At this point, it is essential to speak of the so-called hydrological cycle or water cycle , from which it circulates in the hydrosphere, carrying out a process known as the biogeochemical cycle from which the water changes its physical state and moves from about places to others. Through evaporation, solar energy acting as a motor, large deposits of water vapor are formed, which then becomes liquid or solid on Earth.
The salt water is the most abundant , as noted, reaching 1,400 million cubic kilometers, and then we have the liquid freshwater found in rivers, lakes or, for example, groundwater, as well as glaciers or atmospheric water. Thus, through evaporation a flow is produced that constantly completes the cycle.
However, the distribution of natural water is modified by human action. Currently, the diversion and control of water in nature have interrupted or alternated this hydrological cycle.
As a result, not only has its distribution changed, but the available fresh water has also been reduced. Today our blue planet is still a salt water world, with fresh water accounting for only 2.8 percent of the total volume.
With the aggravating factor that of this, ice and snow are the majority (2.1 percent), leaving only 0.7 percent of it for available fresh water. That is, man can only use less than 1 percent of the total volume of fresh water, including rivers, groundwater, natural or artificial reservoirs.
The geographical distribution of the water, map in hand, leads us to distinguish, for example, a different ocean surface in both hemispheres, with a much larger ocean surface in the South than in the North.
Not surprisingly, the Antarctic continent is covered by ice, unlike the North, where the ice floats in the Arctic Ocean, so these important contrasts in the distribution between liquid and solid water are observed. In turn, these differences also translate into differences when water reaches the atmosphere, so its distribution will also be uneven. Distribution of water on Earth in body system
The differences in solar radiation that exist between different regions also affect its distribution, so atmospheric characteristics also influence this. Basically, most of the water in the atmosphere is found in the tropics, where evaporation from warm ocean waters is intense.
If the distribution of fresh water between countries is concerned, we must affirm that it is very uneven. Some countries, such as Brazil or India, Canada, Russia or Colombia are very rich in water, while others have a chronic lack of water, among them Jordan or Malta. Similarly, differences exist within countries.
That is why saying that a country is rich in water does not mean that its entire territory is. Although new technologies and infrastructures facilitate their distribution, they cannot always be implemented, either due to technical reasons or lack of budget.
As a consequence, also in the countries that are world powers in water there are regions that suffer from severe droughts. This, regardless of the quality of the water, since its contamination by natural or human causes constitutes another aspect that can significantly reduce the amount of consumable water. Distribution of water on Earth in body
Taking into account, on the other hand, that water needs do not stop increasing, among other reasons due to urbanization, development and the increase in the population worldwide. Its best distribution, therefore, is one of the great challenges of humanity for the future and, ideally, of course, for now.
On the other hand, the advance of climate change also implies a greater frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as droughts and heat waves. This, without taking into account that floods, hurricanes and tsunamis are also a threat to guarantee the supply of drinking water and, in general, the same can be said of natural disasters in general. Distribution of water on Earth distribution of water system in body
Likewise, global warming is an important factor in the advance of desertification, a problem that lies ahead in much of the planet, closely related to the unequal distribution of water. Finally, let us not forget that water is a natural resource that must be cared for as a priority, since it is essential for the life of the planet and of all of us.