Real NASA images.
I can’t believe it.
I was pretty shocked to find out just how little liquid fresh water Earth contains, like we saw in this post. But I was equally shocked to find out that as much as one-fifth of Earth’s fresh water is locked up in the beauty above: Lake Baikal.
Siberia’s Lake Baikal, not only the world’s oldest lake at ~25 million years of age, is the largest single fresh water source on the planet. The water is so deep and so pure that when it freezes it becomes a sort of cold, turquoise glass, giving an observer a lens that can see over 100 feet straight down.
Earth contains over 10 million cubic kilometers of liquid fresh water. Most of that water, whose approximate volume compared to Earth is represented by the large water droplet at the top, is buried groundwater, much of which isn’t accessible by humans. Instead of flowing in our rivers and lakes or out of our wells, it’s buried deep inside the rocky nooks and crannies of Earth’s crust. Our ice caps, permafrost and permanent snows hold much more, although it’s equally inaccessible.
That smaller water droplet represents all the liquid fresh water that can be accessed by the world’s 7+ billion people. That droplet represents less than 100,000 cubic kilometers, and we have to share, recycle and conserve all that we can. Nearly a billion people don’t have access to clean water, and 2.5 billion don’t have anything resembling modern sanitation. Learn more about how we can all help at the UN’s World Water Day website. More about where to find Earth’s water from the USGS.
We live on a blue planet, but only a tiny speck of that blue is available to us. Water, water everywhere but nary a drop to drink/irrigate/wash with. Important to remember how precious that wet stuff flowing out of your faucet is.
(image remixed via MarcelClemens/Shutterstock)
With the average temperature on Earth in October becoming the 332nd consecutive month at a higher-than-normal mark, we’re defining the new normal for a whole generation.
And that’s not a “new normal” that we should be okay with. Because a warming Earth with frequent droughts and supercharged storms could make Hurricane Sandy look like an afternoon sprinkle.
An alarming visualization of when the Earth’s non-renewable resources will run out from the BBC.
Earth during the Apollo 11 return trip
(Image Credit: NASA)