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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

Encyclopædia Britannica

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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

Encyclopædia Britannica


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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.

  • Fracking wastewater accumulation found in...
    on October 22, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Elevated concentrations of strontium, an element associated with oil and gas wastewaters, have accumulated in the shells of freshwater mussels downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites. […]

  • Rising temperatures and human activity are...
    on October 22, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that runoff extremes have been dramatically increasing in response to climate and human-induced changes. Their findings show a large increase in both precipitation and runoff extremes driven by both human activity and climate change. They also found that storm runoff has a stronger response than precipitation to human-induced changes (climate change, land-use land-cover changes, etc). […]

  • How plants bind their green pigment chlorophyll
    on October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Water-soluble protein helps to understand the photosynthetic apparatus. […]

  • Climate stress will make cities more vulnerable
    on October 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    The fall of Angkor has long puzzled historians, archaeologists and scientists, but now a research team is one step closer to discovering what led to the city's demise -- and it comes with a warning for modern urban communities. […]

  • Biodiversity can also destabilize ecosystems
    on October 18, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides. The situation is not as simple as it seems, however, as ecologists have now discovered. Under certain environmental conditions, increased biodiversity can also lead to an ecosystem becoming more unstable. […]


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.

  • 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 […]

  • Conductivity key to mapping water inside Earth
    on July 26, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Hydrogen at elevated temperature creates high electrical conductivity in the Earth's mantle. […]

  • A map that fills a 500-million year gap in...
    on June 27, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Earth is estimated to be around 4.5 billion years old, with life first appearing around 3 billion years ago. […]

  • Study shows planet's atmospheric oxygen rose...
    on February 6, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    A University of Wyoming researcher contributed to a paper that determined a "Snowball Earth" event actually took place 100 million years earlier than previously projected, and a rise in the planet's oxidation resulted from a number of different continents—including what is now Wyoming—that were once connected. […]