How much water is in the atmosphere?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

At any given moment do scientists have an idea of how much water is in the atmosphere? Can we compare it to how much fresh water is stored on earth as a liquid?
 

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  • #2
SteamKing
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According to this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_vapor
the mean moisture content of the atmosphere is equivalent to approx. 25 mm of liquid water covering the entire surface of the globe. (See the section 'Water Vapor in Earth's Atmosphere')
 
  • #3
D H
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At any given moment do scientists have an idea of how much water is in the atmosphere?
Thanks to weather satellites, yes, they do. You've seen weather satellite images that show the Earth as ocean and land, partly covered by clouds. Those are visible images of the Earth as seen from space. Looking at the Earth in infrared gives a very different picture. Several wavelengths are particularly sensitive to water vapor. For example, here's a 6.7 micron channel image:

Goes8wv.gif
 
  • #4
meBigGuy
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http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html details all the forms of water on Earth

"About 3,100 mi3 (12,900 km3) of water, mostly in the form of water vapor, is in the atmosphere at any one time. If it all fell as precipitation at once, the Earth would be covered with only about 1 inch of water."

Edit: Dang --- did it again ---- old post
 
  • #5
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According to the USGS Water Science School the amount of water in the atmosphere is .04 of a percent of the total of earth's fresh water and .001 percent of the amount of earth's total water. The increase in the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold doubles with an increase of 10 degrees (centigrade i believe).
 
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