Five exciting facts about water, one of our most valuable commodities.
It’s March 22, that means it’s World Water Day! Water rules all our lives significantly. We drink it, we need it in our atmosphere to breathe, we consist of it. Therefore, it’s time to raise awareness of water again. Let’s take a closer look at this valuable commodity! Here are five random, exciting facts for you.
Fact 1: About 97% of Earth’s water is in our ocean
By far the largest proportion of water on our planet is in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean represents the largest part of this water reserve. Another 2% of Earth’s water is stored in glaciers. And the remaining 1% is fresh water and vapor in our atmosphere.
Fact 2: Sound in the water moves around 4 times faster than in the air
While sound in the air moves with a speed of about 340 meters per second, sound in the water reaches a speed of about 1500 meters per second. The reason lies in the different physical properties of water and air. The warmer and saltier the water, and the higher the pressure (deeper water), the faster the sound. This explains why some whales can send “sound letters” to their buddies half way around the globe. On the other hand, this also means that the noise under water impacts sea creatures immensely, even if the source is far away.
Fact 3: Jellyfish and cucumber consist of the same amount of water
There’s not just water in the ocean, there’s also water in our bodies. For example, the human body consists of about 60% water. Compared to a jellyfish, this amount is still small: Jellyfish are about 95% water. Just 5% is solid matter. Fun fact: This is the same percentage of water as in a cucumber.
Fact 4: The average water footprint of a Pizza Margherita is about 1260 litres per pizza
It’s not a secret that our food consumption has a big impact on our water footprint. Although the water footprint of food depends highly on where you consume the food, the average global water footprint of a normal Pizza Margherita is about 1260 litres. You can find a detailed calculator here, where you can compare other goods and food, such as leather (17’093 litres/kg), coffee (132 litres per cup), beer (74 litres per glass) or beef (15’415 litres/kg).
Fact 5: The Mediterranean Sea is saltier than the water around the Arctic
On average, the ocean has around seven teaspoons of salt in one litre of water (about 35g in every 1000g referred to as 35ppt). But the salinity varies a lot from place to place: While the salinity in the Mediterranean Sea is higher than average (around 38ppt), the Antarctic (below 34ppt) and the Arctic (30ppt) are much less salty. The highest differences in salinity are measured at the surface of the ocean. One of the main reasons for the differences in salinity is the weather. In places with less rain and dry winds, the water is saltier than in other places.
In short, water influences our lives more than we are probably aware of. Today, on World Water Day, it’s time to raise awareness of this essential resource – and due to an increasing water crisis on Earth, maybe we need to all think about our own water footprint and impact as well.
Written by Lorena Oberlin.