What percentage of Earth’s surface is covered by water?

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By Kristy Tolley

Earth’s Surface and Water

Earth is a unique planet in our solar system due to its abundance of water covering its surface. Water is a vital resource not only for human civilization but also for the survival of other living organisms. Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, making it the most significant feature of the planet’s surface.

Measuring the Earth’s Surface

To measure the Earth’s surface, scientists use the concept of square miles or square kilometers. The Earth’s surface area measures approximately 196.9 million square miles or 510.1 million square kilometers. This measurement includes both land and water coverage.

What is Water Coverage?

Water coverage is the amount of Earth’s surface area covered by water. This measurement includes all forms of water, including oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Water coverage is an essential factor in understanding the planet’s ecosystems, climate patterns, and weather phenomena.

The World Ocean

The world ocean is a massive body of saltwater that covers approximately 97% of the Earth’s water coverage. The world ocean is divided into five oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern, and Arctic Oceans.

The Five Oceans of the World

The five oceans of the world cover about 70 % of the Earth’s surface. The Pacific Ocean is the largest and covers approximately 30% of the Earth’s surface, followed by the Atlantic Ocean (21%), Indian Ocean (14%), Southern Ocean (7%), and Arctic Ocean (5%).

Oceanic Features and Topography

The oceanic features and topography include underwater mountains, ridges, trenches, and plateaus. These features are essential in understanding the ocean’s behavior and its impact on the planet’s weather patterns.

The Continents and Water Coverage

The continents, including North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica, cover approximately 29% of the Earth’s surface. The continents are surrounded by oceans, seas, and other bodies of water, making them vulnerable to the impacts of water events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods.

The Largest Lakes and Rivers

The largest lakes in the world include Caspian Sea, Lake Superior, and Lake Victoria, among others. Rivers such as the Amazon, Nile, and Mississippi are also vast bodies of freshwater that play a critical role in the planet’s ecosystems.

Ice and Water Coverage

Ice covers approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface, including glaciers, ice sheets, and ice caps. These icy bodies of water are essential in regulating the planet’s climate and sea levels.

Human Impacts on Water Coverage

Human activities such as pollution, climate change, and overfishing have significantly impacted the planet’s water coverage. These activities have caused alterations in water quality, marine life, and weather patterns.

Conclusion: Earth’s Water Coverage

The Earth’s water coverage, including oceans, lakes, and rivers, is an essential aspect of the planet’s ecosystem. Understanding this vital resource is essential in managing the planet’s climate, ecosystems, and weather patterns.

References and Further Reading

  • National Geographic Society. (2019). World Ocean. National Geographic Society. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/world-ocean/
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). The World’s Oceans. UNESCO.
  • United States Geological Survey. (n.d.). Earth’s Surface. USGS.
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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