Misuses of Water

Topics: Water, Evaporation, Water resources Pages: 3 (761 words) Published: September 5, 2010
The importance of water
Water is one of the weirdest compounds known to humans. The difference between the boiling point and freezing point of water is one of the largest ranges of any compound. It is this span of temperature that mirrors the range of where life can exist, from bacteria to humans. Water also has a very high specific heat, which means that it can absorb or lose much heat before its temperature changes. This is important in maintaining body heat in mammals. It also takes a lot of energy before vaporization can occur. For this reason, water evaporates slowly from ponds and lakes, where many life forms are dependent on a stable, warm environment. Water is less dense in its solid state than in its liquid state, so that ice floats instead of sinking. This property permits life to develop in polar and sub Polar Regions where ice floats and allows life to continue living below the surface. If ice were heavier than water, it would sink, and more ice would form on top of it. As a result, all life in the waters would be trapped in the ice in the many areas of the world where it gets cold enough to freeze water. Water is a remarkable solvent, where most elements and compounds can dissolve in its powerful molecular structure. Gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide can also dissolve, making it readily available for photosynthetic and no photosynthetic organisms to use. Water also exhibits viscosity. One can observe the effects of viscosity alongside a stream or river with uniform banks. The water along the banks is nearly still, while the current in the center may be swift. This resistance between the layers is called viscosity. This property allows smaller fish to live near the shore, while larger fish are able to swim efficiently in strong currents. Viscosity is also responsible for the formation of eddies, creating turbulence that leads to good mixing of air in the water and more uniform distribution of microscopic organisms.

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