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all the air and all the water
November 13, 2005 10:30 PM   Subscribe

Here's an interesting series of scale/perspective images showing what all the water on Earth (1.4087 billion cubic kilometres of it), including sea water, ice, lakes, rivers, ground water, clouds, etc. would look like in comparison to the total spherical area of the Earth, and then again showing All the air in the atmosphere (5140 trillion tonnes of it) gathered into a ball at sea-level density. Both illustrations shown on the same scale as the Earth. via
posted by jonson (36 comments total)

 
That's pretty neat. For some reason, I thought there would be more water...

They should also do scale images for all the Coca-Cola in the world, all the dog poop in the world and just for the heck of it, all the God in the world. I betcha there would be more of each of those than water. Well, except for maybe dog poop.
posted by panoptican at 10:33 PM on November 13, 2005


How about bacteria. I heard there is more mass of bacteria than all other living biomass.
posted by Balisong at 10:42 PM on November 13, 2005


How about bacteria. I heard there is more mass of bacteria than all other living biomass.

Mass is different from volume!
posted by RockBandit at 10:47 PM on November 13, 2005


But it has volume. You could squish it into a ball and place it on Europe, right?

Also, I thought there would be more water, also.
It looks like there's still some ice up around the north pole they didn't get.
posted by Balisong at 10:59 PM on November 13, 2005


That's not very much water. Nor air.

Look how naked our lonely little planet looks.

[This is good]
posted by loquacious at 11:09 PM on November 13, 2005


That is a lot of water, it's just a damn big Earth we're living on. Makes one think a bit about all the Earth beneath our feet that we tend to ignore.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:22 PM on November 13, 2005


its so small. if everybody went to the coast with a straw...
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:22 PM on November 13, 2005


You all are breathing my air and drinking my water!! We're all going to die!

Hehe. Great post.
posted by snwod at 11:25 PM on November 13, 2005


How about one showing all the portabella mushrooms?
posted by Joeforking at 11:25 PM on November 13, 2005


I feel thirsty already...
posted by lorbus at 11:26 PM on November 13, 2005


Just in case you were wondering, as I was, about how water vapor in the atmosphere would affect these images:

The annual mean global concentration of water vapor would yield about 25 mm of liquid water over the entire surface of the Earth if it were to instantly condense. However, the mean annual precipitation for the planet is about 1 meter, which indicates a rapid turnover of water in the air.
posted by dsword at 11:31 PM on November 13, 2005


MeTa
posted by loquacious at 11:34 PM on November 13, 2005


Eek. That's not much air or water for us to all share around.

I need to see a ball representing all the humans, packed in reasonably tight. Better do another with all life forms altogether, as they're all gonna need that water and air, too...
posted by five fresh fish at 12:14 AM on November 14, 2005


Oh, hell, I drink that much water every day. Fortunately, I return it to the environment as soon as I can.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 AM on November 14, 2005


It all comes back to Katamari.
posted by The Cardinal at 12:49 AM on November 14, 2005


Air and water and the life that lives in it are literally a scum on the earth.
posted by moonbiter at 1:00 AM on November 14, 2005


Ooooh. This was on QI (BBC2, UK) last week.
posted by kaemaril at 1:04 AM on November 14, 2005


Indeed amazing!
I guess we're all flabbergasted as we are just not used to grasping circles and spheres.
I remember being stunned at secondary school when we were asked to calculate the difference between the lengths of two ropes: One tied around the equator and another one floating 1 m above the equator...
It's only 6.28m!
posted by Phasuma at 5:51 AM on November 14, 2005


The oceans are puddles. I'd love to see a version with only fresh water.
posted by romanb at 6:00 AM on November 14, 2005


Funky. Reminds me of Venus on the Half Shell when all the water in the atmosphere was condensed and forced to fall as rain.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:49 AM on November 14, 2005


wow.

i've heard it said that the earth is (relatively) smoother than a billiard ball. that makes sense, given these images, except that it implies that the topological shading is way over-emphasised.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:11 AM on November 14, 2005


Informed! This is good stuff!
posted by jmccorm at 7:26 AM on November 14, 2005


The mention on QI which kaemaril acknowleges was in the context of how long it would take to drive to get to outer space (its 62 miles away so about an hour allowing for any hold ups)
posted by rongorongo at 7:43 AM on November 14, 2005


I need to see a ball representing all the humans, packed in reasonably tight. Better do another with all life forms altogether, as they're all gonna need that water and air, too...

Great idea! Good post, too.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:17 AM on November 14, 2005


It's a good thing we use that bubble as a dumping ground for chemical weapons and stuff.
posted by stbalbach at 8:23 AM on November 14, 2005


All the gold in the world, "it is estimated" could be made into a cube 60 feet on a side. (Or, if my math is right, a sphere about 75 feet in diameter)

All the pumpable oil ever pumped or still left in the ground (based on estimate of 1750 billion barrels here) would fit into a sphere 5 miles in diameter.

All the human blood in the world could be stuffed into a cube about 1000 feet on a side (but then we'd all be dead).
posted by beagle at 8:33 AM on November 14, 2005


I just realized how much this reminds me of crunchland's excellent (but far outspent by our gov't) 87 billion dollars for war illustration.
posted by jonson at 8:45 AM on November 14, 2005


All the gold in the world, "it is estimated" could be made into a cube 60 feet on a side. (Or, if my math is right, a sphere about 75 feet in diameter)

How dare you square the circle!



Would anyone like to do a calculation to find out the gravitational pull of the sphere of water?
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 AM on November 14, 2005


In the late 1960s, Zanzibar could be entirely tiled by
the population at the time (3.5 billion). We're at about
6 billion now, so now it would take about 1000 square
miles, or all of Samoa.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:53 AM on November 14, 2005


What about one that shows all the earth on the earth?
posted by dontoine at 9:57 AM on November 14, 2005


Amazing. It's rare that something so simply presented can instantly change our beliefs.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:59 AM on November 14, 2005


Would anyone like to do a calculation to find out the gravitational pull of the sphere of water?

Well, let's assume a density of 1g/cm3. Which may not be exact, as the density varies slightly on temperature as well as what's dissolved in the water (did we purify the seawater before condensing it into that ball?), but should be close enough.

Gravitational acceleration at the surface of a sphere of uniform density is given by Gm/r2. Given the volume, we need only multiply it by the density to get the mass of the sphere. Since the volume of a sphere is 4/3πr3, we can calculate the radius as (3V/4π)1/3.

Google calculator says 0.19m/s2, which is 0.02g.

Again, that's at the surface of the sphere. The mass of the sphere is only 0.0002 of the mass of the earth, but it's also smaller than the earth.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:17 AM on November 14, 2005


Great post!
posted by elderling at 10:28 AM on November 14, 2005


How many comets does it take to convey that much water?
posted by Laugh_track at 1:07 PM on November 14, 2005


Gnarly insight from this depiction.

Thanks, j!
posted by darkstar at 3:47 PM on November 14, 2005


We indeed live in a thin film of air and water on the surface of a giant rock.
Marilyn vos Savant once said the Earth is as relatively smooth as a billiard ball.
Some science fiction writer once said that space wasn't so far away from us, "all you have to do is drive for one hour- straight up!"
posted by Lord Kinbote at 7:01 AM on November 15, 2005


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