MILAN – Have you ever wondered what the earth would be like without water? With this in mind, the US Geological Survey created an image in which you can see how our planet would look without rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. It is well known that around 71% of the earth's surface is characterised by the presence of water, but if the entire surface were collected into a single area, it would form a sphere slightly wider than 860 miles.
All of the Earth's water
A sphere, fully formed by water in its liquid state would have a diameter of 169.5 miles, as for fresh water (in rivers and lakes) the sphere's diameter would be a lot less, 34.9 miles. Although that sphere may seem small and almost totally harmless, it would cause a devastating flood across all American territory and even though more than half of the earth is covered by water, the oceans represent 96.5% of the earth's surface water, including just 2.5% of drinking water.
The smaller sphere created, that has the dimensions of the state of Kentucky, is generally characterised by fresh water coming from lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps and from fresh ground water . According to the USGS, the volume of this sphere would be approximately 2.5 million cubic miles. Recent measurements carried out by NASA revealed that many lakes are heating at an average of 0.34°C every decade; we know that the temperature of water affects the health and especially the vitality of ecosystems. When temperatures fluctuate rapidly and in a more widespread manner than normal, lifeforms within a lake can alter dramatically or in the worst case, disappear.
by Alessandro Conte