Water Planet

May 1, 2019

Environmental Enlightenment #310

Seventy percent (70%) of the surface of the earth is mantled in water.
Over 90% of the world water supply is found in the ocean–the source of virtually all water found upon or within the continental land masses.

At the ocean’s surface, evaporation (powered by the energy of solar radiation) converts liquid water into water vapor. This vapor, which contains small amounts of dissolved material, is carried by air masses moving across the ocean.

Approximately 3.6 million tons of water are evaporated annually from an average square mile of the ocean surface.

Moisture-laden air masses rise as they are heated by the sun’s radiation. At higher elevations they expand and cool due to the lower pressure in the upper atmosphere.

Minute particulate matter, such as combustion products, salt crystals, dust, and clay particles are carried aloft by rising air currents.

The particulate matter provides surfaces upon which water vapor is converted to liquid water or ice. These particles are referred to as condensation or freezing nuclei.

The water droplets or ice crystals then form clouds; and when individual droplets gain sufficient mass, they accelerate downward by the force of gravity and fall as precipitation.


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