Have you ever thought about the quantity of water on Earth? According to studies, approximately 71% of the earth’s is covered with water. Water is found in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, and is stored underground as groundwater. Some amount is trapped in ice. Water also exists in the atmosphere in the form of water vapour. All of the water that exists on Earth is known as Hydrosphere. Put differently; the hydrosphere is the water component of the Earth. Hence, we can define hydrosphere as,
The total amount of water on a planet. It includes water on the surface of the planet, underground and in the air. A planet’s hydrosphere can be liquid, vapour and ice.
The hydrosphere is always in motion. The motion of rivers and streams can be seen, but the motion of water in ponds and lakes is less obvious. Some of the motion of seas and ocean can be seen easily with large scale motions that travel water with great distances like poles and tropics or between continents. These kinds of motions are in the form of currents that move warm water in tropics towards poles and cool water from poles towards the tropics. These currents are present on the surface of the ocean and at depths in the ocean.
Why is the Hydrosphere Important?
We rarely think about the role of the planet that keeps us alive and take hydrosphere for granted. The major importance of hydrosphere is that water sustains various life forms and plays an important role in ecosystems and regulating the atmosphere. Hydrosphere covers all water present on the Earth surface. It involves saltwater, freshwater and frozen water along with groundwater and water in the lower levels of the atmosphere. Following are the functions of a hydrosphere.
Water is the most important part of living cells
Every cell in living organism is built up of about 75% of water, hence allows the cell to function appropriately. Cells would not able to carry out normal functions and life cannot exist without water.
Humans use water in many ways. Drinking water is the most obvious use, but it is also used for domestic purpose like washing and cleaning, and in industries. Water is also utilized in generating electricity through hydropower.
Water provides habitat
Hydrosphere provides place for many plants and animals to live. Many gasses like CO2, O2, nutrients like ammonium and nitrite(NO–2) as well as other ions are dissolved in water. The presence of these substances is essential for life to exist in water.
The water’s specific heat is its unique characteristics. This indicates that water takes a lot of time to heat up and a lot of time cool down. It helps in regulating temperatures on earth as they stay in a range which is acceptable for life on earth to exist.
These are only a few of the functions that water plays on the planet. Many functions relate it to chemistry and methods in which it dissolves substances.
To know more about importance of biosphere and importance of lithosphere, you can visit us @Byju’s.