Earth

Importance of Hydrosphere

The hydrosphere is the combined mass of water that is found on, under, and above the surface of a planet, minor planet, or natural satellite. Although Earth’s hydrosphere is around for about 4 billion years, it continues to change in shape. This change is caused by seafloor spreading and continental drift, that rearranges the land and ocean. Learn the Importance of Hydrosphere here.

It has been estimated that 1,386 million cubic kilometres or 333,000,000 cubic miles of water are present on the earth. This water is in liquid and frozen forms present in groundwater, oceans, lakes and streams. Saltwater accounts for 97.5%, whereas freshwater accounts for only 2.5 per cent. Out of this freshwater, 68.9 per cent is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in the Arctic, the Antarctic and mountain glaciers. 30.8 per cent is in the form of fresh groundwater; and only 0.3 per cent of the fresh water on Earth is easily accessible from lakes, reservoirs and river systems.

Importance of Hydrosphere

Why is the Hydrosphere Important?

The major importance of the hydrosphere is that water sustains various life forms. It plays an important role in ecosystems and regulating the atmosphere. The hydrosphere covers all water present on the surface of the earth. It involves saltwater, freshwater, and frozen water along with groundwater. Also, water in the lower levels of the atmosphere. Following are the reasons why the hydrosphere is important:

  • Water is the most important part of living cells

Every cell in a living organism is built up of about 75% of water. It allows the cell to function appropriately. Cells would not able to carry out their normal functioning and the life of a cell cannot exist without water.

  • For human needs

Humans use water in many ways for different purposes. Drinking water is the most obvious use by humans. This water is also in use for domestic purposes like washing and cleaning and in industries. Water is also in use for generating electricity through hydropower.

  • Water provides habitat

Hydrosphere provides a place for many plants and animals to survive. Many gases like \(CO_2\), \(O_2\), nutrients like ammonium and nitrite \(NO_2^-\) as well as other ions that are dissolved in water. The presence of these substances is important for life to exist in water.

  • Regulate Climate

The specific heat of water is its unique characteristics. This shows that water takes a lot of time to heat up and a lot of time to cool down. This helps in regulating temperatures on earth. This is because they stay in a range that is acceptable for life on earth to exist.

FAQs on Importance of Hydrosphere

Question: What is the amount of water present in the hydrosphere?

Answer: The total mass of Earth’s hydrosphere is about \(1.4 \times 10^{18}\) tonnes. This is about 0.023 per cent of Earth’s total mass. At any given time, about \(20 \times 10^{12}\) tonnes is in the form of water vapour in the Earth’s atmosphere. Approximately 71 per cent of Earth’s surface, an area of some 361 million square kilometres or 139.5 million square miles is covered by ocean. The average salinity of Earth’s oceans is about 35 grams of salt per kilogram that is in seawater.

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