How much water covers the earth?
August 30, 2013 12:03 PM Subscribe
If you looked at the planet Earth from space and were able to view the whole of the globe, on the average, what percentage would be water? (not as simple as it seems)
posted by dances_with_sneetches to science & nature (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought of this question a time back when I read that you would be looking mostly at a wet planet. But then it went on to say that oceans cover 70.8% of the globe. That seems to vastly underestimate how much water you would be looking at. How much of the surface area of the planet is covered by lakes? They are usually figured into the land surface areas. I've found a number of sites that talk about cumulative lake volume. That's small, but a number of lakes are large and relatively shallow. I've not found a site that looks at total lake surface area for the world.
And then, according to this link, 60% of the globe at any given moment is covered by clouds, which are water. If this were divided equally between land and water areas (it's probably not) that alone would reduce the visible land from 30% down to 12%.
Other vast areas, Antarctica, the Himalayas, many mountain ranges, Greenland, other northern territories are covered by snow or glaciers.
I'm imagining 90+% of the world is covered by water at any given moment. Has anyone figured this out? It's driving me crazy.