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All the World's Water in a Single Sphere: IMAGE

Water

This is what all of Earth's water would look like if gathered into a single sphere:

The sphere includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant.

Suddenly, I'm thirsty.

(U.S. Geological Service via buzzfeed)

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Comments

  1. That is terrifying.

    Posted by: K | May 8, 2012 9:01:19 AM


  2. @ K,

    Howso? I mean, it's not like the oceans run as deep as the core of the Earth, which is all solid/non-water. Looking at that picture, it's easy to forget that from the surface to the core is thousands of miles and I believe the deepest part of any ocean/sea is what... maybe 10 miles deep?

    Either way, pretty interesting graphic; sort of puts things into perspective.

    Posted by: Nat | May 8, 2012 9:09:26 AM


  3. A similar graphic for fresh water would be even scarier. Nate, it's a stark reminder that water is a finite resource, a truth I'm not frequently confronted with in such a blunt way.

    Posted by: K | May 8, 2012 9:30:30 AM


  4. 20 years from now when Planetary Resources gets fully operational silly concepts like "finite resources" will seem so quaint to the next generation :)

    Need more water? Just drag some icy asteroids or comets to lunar orbit. Hell, in due time we can just hijack a Jovian moon.

    Posted by: Snownova | May 8, 2012 9:42:54 AM


  5. K--this graphic includes fresh water. However, I think the graphic is misleading. Anytime that anyone puts out charts or graphs there are ways to make it appear to support whatever argument you wish. Especially when those charts come from the government.

    Posted by: Scott | May 8, 2012 9:55:09 AM


  6. Scott, I think K meant a graphic showing only fresh water would be even scarier.

    Posted by: Michael W. | May 8, 2012 9:56:55 AM


  7. Do people think that all that water is small? It's a small moon, that's plenty of water.

    Posted by: Fenrox | May 8, 2012 10:02:34 AM


  8. Sorry folks, but I do not believe this picture is accurate at all. The snow pack over Antarctica alone could make a bigger drop than that on the U.S. You cannot roll up 7/8 of the planets surface down to that. Did some digging and could find no supporting documentation to accompany this graphic.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | May 8, 2012 10:08:51 AM


  9. All the water we use will of course be recycled, its not like its gone once used. However it is an interesting graphic.

    Posted by: rovex | May 8, 2012 10:14:40 AM


  10. And if you took all the air it would be about the same size sphere as the water.

    Thought provoking. Obviously true. Life on Earth seems even more fragile than it did a minute ago.

    Posted by: Nice graphic | May 8, 2012 10:35:04 AM


  11. This graphic is completely misleading for all of and more of the reasons stated. There's two 3rds (something like that) more water surface than land surface on earth which is the only relevant measurement.

    Posted by: UFFDA | May 8, 2012 10:38:05 AM


  12. This is a nice graphic and makes sense as noted by K and Nat. The reference is from USGS
    http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

    If you think there is a better possible source of information for something like this than the USGS you need to get over your mistrust of government.
    The republican attack on government has obviously worked on you.

    Posted by: Jim | May 8, 2012 10:45:46 AM


  13. That's completely inaccurate unless the sphere is far larger than it looks. Imagine putting the Pacific Ocean over the US. This is absurd.

    That might be the amount of major rivers in the Americas (Mississippi, Amazon, Snake, and a few others), but it is not the world's total. Lying to make a point isn't useful. Yes, the world faces a water crisis. But not this.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 8, 2012 10:54:34 AM


  14. Here you go:

    The volume of water on earth is about 1.37 * 10^18 cubic meters. The volume of a sphere is 4/3 * pi * r^3. A little algebra tells us that the radius of a sphere of that volume is about 430 miles (diameter = 860 miles), which, to me, looks to be about right, in comparison with the US there. Check the URL link on my name to see the math on Wolfram Alpha.

    Posted by: AdamO | May 8, 2012 11:14:18 AM


  15. To those that think this graphic is absurd…please go back to middle school science and math. First our spherical planet is not filled with water, its full of mineral and metallic elements that are in both solid and liquid states. The measurement that we all should have learned was that 2/3 of Earth’s SURFACE is COVERED in water. Those two words are very important. Surface area does not imply more water than other elements in/on our planet. The measure of the total contents of our planet would be in VOLUME not surface area. The image shows the volume and surface size of a spherical entity that contains all our planets water in comparison to the rest of the the planet. Of course is would be smaller than the Earth which is mostly minerals, metals, and gases. You would do well to remember that water is an alien substance on this planet (not present at the formation of our solar system)and therefore not the main substance comprising the planet and it's core.

    Posted by: DRG | May 8, 2012 11:21:20 AM


  16. further...only 96% of the water on the planet is even drinkable. Unless(like previous comentors stated) we can find and mine frozen water from space, its an extremely limited natual resource. so @NATE, correct extremely scary to imagine the size of a fresh water graphic like this. yikes...

    Posted by: DRG | May 8, 2012 11:26:00 AM


  17. I don't doubt that the amount of water shown is accurate, just misleading. If you flattened out the water the way it normally looks on a map AND included the water from plants, animals, and from the atmosphere, it would likely cover the entire map. With this map, the govt obviously is pushing conservation. Less than a decade ago, Al Gore showed graphics of drowning polar bears and flooded coastal areas with people fleeing their homes, but greenhouse gases were the target then, not water conservation.
    My point is that 2 people can take the same information and both create truthful graphs, but they can do so in a way that proves opposing views. This picture should evoke nothing but skepticism and a yawn.

    Posted by: ScottNYC | May 8, 2012 11:38:10 AM


  18. That's a sphere. the most efficient form for holding volume. I'm guessing that sphere (based on the USA under it) is @ 1,000 miles in diameter, that represents @ 520,000,000 cubic MILES of water. If you consider that one cubic INCH of water could probably spread out to make a puddle @ 24" across, this scale seems spot on.

    Posted by: Dego | May 8, 2012 11:39:17 AM


  19. to those that think this graphic isn't accurate, is your pea brain so small that you can't understand without 3-d glasses that the sphere of water is actually round? SO to compare the sphere with the pacific ocean makes no sense.

    God I hate stupid people.

    Posted by: dms | May 8, 2012 12:52:55 PM


  20. Because of the evaporation/precipitation cycle, the volume of water on earth never changes. Water changes forms, but doesn't just disappear off the face of the earth, so the graphic is interesting, but not a doomsday prediction. The real focus of concern should be the amount of that water that is drinkable since clean, safe drinking water is a crisis in many parts of the world. A graphic that shows how drinkable water has shrunk over the centuries would be the most interesting.

    Posted by: Chadd | May 8, 2012 1:14:23 PM


  21. If you could spread all of the Earth's water over a perfectly smooth surface, the planet would be covered to depth of about one mile.
    If you could shrink it to a beach ball, 2 feet in diameter, the water would be about 1/1000 of an inch deep. Dunk a beach ball in water and give it a shake. The film of water left behind would be proportionally deeper than the Earth's oceans!

    Posted by: chuck | May 8, 2012 1:22:50 PM


  22. Sorry TWO miles deep!...or 2/1000 of an inch on the beach ball. Appreciate what you have!

    Posted by: chuck | May 8, 2012 1:25:52 PM


  23. The doubters should keep in mind that the sphere is 860 miles in diameter, meaning it contains about 333 MILLION miles of water. The average depth of the oceans is roughly 2.5 miles, with the deepest part at about 6.7 miles. The surface area of the earth covered in water is roughly 224 million miles, most of it far shallower than the average depth.

    The graphic may look unbelievable, but it's accurate.

    Posted by: CM | May 8, 2012 5:28:50 PM


  24. The graphic just doesn't look right. If that sphere were to let loose, and the water rush back into the ocean basins, I don't think it would cover the 70% of the Earth that is supposed to be covered.

    Posted by: ron | May 8, 2012 5:35:42 PM


  25. The graphic just doesn't look right. If that sphere were to let loose, and the water rush back into the ocean basins, I don't think it would cover the 70% of the Earth that is supposed to be covered.

    Posted by: ron | May 8, 2012 5:35:44 PM


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