What proportion of water on Earth is classified as non-ocean water?

Tourist Attractions

comment No Comments

By Kristy Tolley

Non-Ocean Water on Earth

Water is essential for all life forms on Earth. The planet’s surface is covered with water bodies, and the oceans make up the majority of them. However, there is also a significant amount of water on Earth that is classified as non-ocean water. This water is just as essential and plays a crucial role in sustaining life on our planet.

Definition of Non-Ocean Water

Non-ocean water refers to all freshwater sources on Earth, including groundwater, lakes, rivers, glaciers, and wetlands. These sources of water are not directly connected to the oceans and are not saline. Non-ocean water is critical for various human activities such as agriculture, industry, and drinking water. It also supports diverse ecosystems and provides habitats for different species of plants and animals.

Freshwater Sources on Earth

Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and most of it is trapped in glaciers and ice caps. The remaining freshwater can be found in groundwater, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. These sources of freshwater are vital to human life and the environment. They provide water for drinking, irrigation, and sanitation, and support diverse ecosystems.

Groundwater and its Importance

Groundwater is water that is found underground in the cracks and spaces between rocks and soil. It is a crucial source of freshwater, especially in regions where surface water is scarce. Groundwater is also essential for many human activities, such as irrigation, mining, and industrial processes.

Lakes and Inland Seas around the World

Lakes and inland seas are significant sources of freshwater on Earth. They range in size from small ponds to massive lakes such as the Great Lakes in North America and the Caspian Sea in Asia. These freshwater sources support diverse ecosystems and provide habitats for many species of plants and animals.

Glaciers and Ice Caps: a Non-Ocean Source

Glaciers and ice caps are massive sources of freshwater on Earth. They store about 69% of the Earth’s freshwater. These frozen water bodies are crucial to many regions worldwide as they provide water for drinking, irrigation, and hydropower. However, due to climate change, glaciers and ice caps are rapidly melting, which can have significant consequences for freshwater resources worldwide.

Rivers and their Role in Freshwater Distribution

Rivers are essential sources of freshwater on Earth. They transport water from the mountains to the sea and provide water for many human activities such as agriculture, industry, and drinking water. Rivers also support diverse ecosystems and provide habitats for many species of plants and animals.

Wetlands: Vital Ecosystems for Freshwater

Wetlands are unique ecosystems that are crucial for freshwater resources. They act as natural filters, removing pollutants from the water and maintaining water quality. Wetlands also provide habitats for many species of plants and animals and help regulate the water cycle.

Atmospheric Water and its Impact

Atmospheric water refers to water vapor in the atmosphere. It is an essential part of the water cycle and helps regulate the Earth’s climate. Atmospheric water also plays a crucial role in freshwater resources as it contributes to rainfall and snowfall.

Human Impact on Non-Ocean Water

Human activities such as pollution, deforestation, and climate change are having a significant impact on non-ocean water sources. Pollution from human activities can contaminate water sources and make them unsafe for human consumption. Deforestation can affect the water cycle and lead to reduced water availability, while climate change can cause changes in precipitation patterns and lead to droughts and floods.

Conclusion: The Importance of Non-Ocean Water

Non-ocean water is essential for sustaining life on Earth. It provides freshwater for drinking, irrigation, and sanitation, and supports diverse ecosystems. However, human activities are putting these valuable resources at risk. It is crucial that we take steps to protect and conserve non-ocean water sources to ensure a sustainable future for ourselves and other species on our planet.

References and Further Reading

  • United Nations. (2018). Sustainable development goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/
  • World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Freshwater ecosystems. Retrieved from
  • National Geographic. (n.d.). Non-ocean water sources. Retrieved from
  • USGS. (n.d.). Groundwater. Retrieved from
  • NASA. (n.d.). Glaciers and ice caps. Retrieved from
Photo of author

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.

Leave a Comment