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water : the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter and that when pure is an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O which appears bluish in thick layers, freezes at 0° C and boils at 100° C, has a maximum density at 4° C and a high specific heat, is feebly ionized to hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and is a poor conductor of electricity and a good solvent — Webster

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Water is a transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth’s streams, lakes, and oceans, and the fluids of most living organisms. It is vital for all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that each of its molecules contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is the name of the liquid state of H2O at standard ambient temperature and pressure. It forms precipitation in the form of rain and aerosols in the form of fog. Clouds are formed from suspended droplets of water and ice, its solid state. When finely divided, crystalline ice may precipitate in the form of snow. The gaseous state of water is steam or water vapor. Water moves continually through the water cycle of evaporation, transpiration (evapotranspiration), condensation, precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea.

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, mostly in seas and oceans. Small portions of water occur as groundwater (1.7%), in the glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland (1.7%), and in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of ice and liquid water suspended in air), and precipitation (0.001%).

Water plays an important role in the world economy. Approximately 70% of the freshwater used by humans goes to agriculture. Fishing in salt and fresh water bodies is a major source of food for many parts of the world. Much of long-distance trade of commodities (such as oil and natural gas) and manufactured products is transported by boats through seas, rivers, lakes, and canals. Large quantities of water, ice, and steam are used for cooling and heating, in industry and homes. Water is an excellent solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances; as such it is widely used in industrial processes, and in cooking and washing. Water is also central to many sports and other forms of entertainment, such as swimming, pleasure boating, boat racing, surfing, sport fishing, and diving. — Wikipedia

Encyclopædia Britannica

Hydrosphere is the combined mass of water found on, under, and above the surface of a planet, minor planet or natural satellite. Although the hydrosphere has been around for longer than 4 billion years, it continues to change in size. This is caused by the seafloor spreading and the continental drift, which rearranges the land and ocean.

It has been estimated that there are 1,386 million cubic kilometers of water on Earth. This includes water in liquid and frozen forms in groundwater, oceans, lakes and streams. Saltwater accounts for 97.5% of this amount. Vapor is another form water is in, caused by a rapid increase in particles transferred by heat. Fresh water accounts for only 2.5%. Of this fresh water, 68.9% is in the form of ice and snow cover in the Arctic, the Antarctic, and mountain glaciers. 30.8% is in the form of fresh groundwater. Only 0.3% of the fresh water on Earth is in easily accessible lakes, reservoirs and river systems. The total mass of the Earth’s hydrosphere is about 1.4 × 1018 tonnes, which is about 0.023% of Earth’s total mass. About 20 × 1012 tonnes of this is in Earth’s atmosphere (for practical purposes, 1 cubic meter of water weighs one tonne). Approximately 71% of Earth’s surface, an area of some 361 million square kilometers (139.5 million square miles), is covered by ocean. The average salinity of Earth’s oceans is about 35 grams of salt per kilogram of sea water (3.5%). — Wikipedia

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Hydrology is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the water cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability. A practitioner of hydrology is a hydrologist, working within the fields of earth or environmental science, physical geography, geology or civil and environmental engineering. Using various analytical methods and scientific techniques, they collect and analyze data to help solve water related problems such as environmental preservation, natural disasters, and water management. Hydrology subdivides into surface water hydrology, groundwater hydrology (hydrogeology), and marine hydrology. Domains of hydrology include hydrometeorology, surface hydrology, hydrogeology, drainage-basin management and water quality, where water plays the central role. — Wikipedia

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Water News -- ScienceDaily Learn about Earth's water resources. Read current research on the water cycle, water pollution, groundwater depletion and lake protection.

  • Algal blooms in Lake Erie's central basin could...
    on May 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Harmful algal blooms pose a unique toxic threat in Lake Erie's central basin, new research has found. Not only do blooms routinely occur in this area, which previously was not thought to be an area of concern, they can also produce types of cyanobacterial toxins that aren't typically detected through routine water-safety monitoring, according to a new study. […]

  • Bio-inspired material targets oceans' uranium...
    on May 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Scientists have demonstrated a new bio-inspired material for an eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to recovering uranium from seawater. The low-cost polymer adsorbent could help push past bottlenecks in the cost and efficiency of extracting uranium resources from oceans for sustainable energy production. […]

  • Nearly a quarter of West Antarctic ice is now...
    on May 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    In only 25 years, ocean melting has caused ice thinning to spread across West Antarctica so rapidly that a quarter of its glacier ice is now affected, according to a new study. […]

  • Warming climate threatens microbes in alpine...
    on May 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Changes to alpine streams fed by glaciers and snowfields due to a warming climate threaten to dramatically alter the types of bacteria and other microbes in those streams, according to new research. But streams that are fed by underground ice insulated by rock -- called 'icy seeps' -- offer some hope that the impact of climate change will be less severe in some areas. […]

  • From Earth's deep mantle, scientists find a new...
    on May 15, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Far below Bermuda's pink sand beaches and turquoise tides, geoscientists have discovered the first direct evidence that material from deep within Earth's mantle transition zone -- a layer rich in water, crystals and melted rock -- can percolate to the surface to form volcanoes. […]


Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Planetary collision that formed the moon made...
    on January 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Most of Earth's essential elements for life—including most of the carbon and nitrogen in you—probably came from another planet. […]

  • Scientists reveal substantial water loss in...
    on November 30, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Along with a warming climate and intensified human activities, recent water storage in global landlocked basins has undergone a widespread decline. A new study reveals this decline has aggravated local water stress and caused potential sea level rise. […]

  • The first rains in centuries in the Atacama...
    on November 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    The Atacama Desert, the driest and oldest desert on Earth, located in northern Chile, hides a hyper-arid core in which no rain has been recorded during the past 500 years. But this situation has changed in the last three years. For the first time, rainfall has been documented in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama, and contrary to what was expected, the water supply has caused a great devastation among local life. This is the main conclusion of an international study, published today in […]

  • New study sheds light on Moon's slow retreat from...
    on February 6, 2018 at 7:23 am

    A study led by University of Colorado Boulder researchers provides new insight into the Moon's excessive equatorial bulge, a feature that solidified in place over four billion years ago as the Moon gradually distanced itself from the Earth. […]

  • Minerals in volcanic rock offer new insights into...
    on November 2, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    The first 1.5 billion years of Earth's evolution is subject to considerable uncertainty due to the lack of any significant rock record prior to four billion years ago and a very limited record until about three billion years ago. Rocks of this age are usually extensively altered making comparisons to modern rock quite difficult. In new research conducted at LSU, scientists have found evidence showing that komatiites, three-billion-year old volcanic rock found within the Earth's mantle, had a […]