Water Science

Abiotic: Nonliving part of the environment. Abyssal plain: Vast, flat areas of the deep-ocean floor. Abyssopelagic zone: The deep ocean that extends from 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the surface to the seafloor. Acid deposition: The collective term for dry deposition and wet deposition of acids as a result of air pollution. Acid rain: The […]

Words to Know In Water Science Part 2

Jet stream: High-speed winds that race around the planet at about five miles above the Earth. Jetty: Structure built out into the sea, a lake, or a river to protect the harbor or shore against waves or tides. Karst: Landscape with caverns, sinkholes, underground streams, and springs created by erosion of limestone rock layers by […]

Research and Activity Ideas (Water Science)

The following research and activity ideas are intended to offer suggestions for complementing science and social studies curricula, to trigger additional ideas for enhancing learning, and to provide cross-disciplinary projects for library and classroom use. • Experimentation: The following resources contain simple experiments that illustrate the physical properties of water: Janice VanCleave’s Oceans for Every […]

Biochemistry (Water and Life)

Water is found in all forms of life on Earth in some form or another. The human body is about 70% water, and other organisms, such as jellyfish, contain as much as 95% water. All of the oxygen that animals breathe had its origin as water. During photosynthesis (the process of using light to create […]

Chemistry of Water

Water is the most common substance on Earth, covering almost three quarters of the planet’s surface. Known by its chemical symbol, H2O, water is the only known substance on Earth that naturally exists as a gas, liquid, and solid. The vast majority of water, about 97%, is in the oceans. The liquid form of water […]

Hydrologic Cycle (Water Science)

Water is in constant motion. Energy from the sun and the force of gravity drive the hydrologic cycle, which is the endless circulation of water between the land, oceans, and atmosphere (air surrounding Earth). Water also changes in form: from gas (water vapor), to liquid, to solid (ice). Rain and snow falling on the land […]

Physics of Water

Why is water wet? Many people will answer this question by simply saying, "Because it is." The physical properties of water are fundamental to life and nature on Earth, and are often accepted as simple truths. Water is so common on Earth that its physical characteristics have a large impact on the physics of Earth […]

Biology of the Oceans (Water Science)

All organisms that live in the ocean are subject to the physical factors of the underwater environment. Some of the more important factors that affect marine (ocean) organisms are light levels, nutrients (chemicals required for growth), temperature, salinity (concentration of salt in the water), and pressure. In general, conditions in the ocean are more stable […]

Coastlines (Water Science)

Coastlines are boundaries between land and water that surround Earth’s continents and islands. Scientists define the coast, or coastal zone, as a broad swath (belt) of land and sea where fresh water mixes with salt water. Land and sea processes work together to shape features along coastlines. Freshwater lakes do not technically have coastal zones, […]

Currents and Circulation Patterns in the Oceans (Water Science)

The oceans are in constant motion. Ocean currents are the horizontal and vertical circulation of ocean waters that produce a steady flow of water in a prevailing direction. Currents of ocean water distribute heat around the globe and help regulate Earth’s climate, even on land. Currents carry and recycle nutrients that nourish marine (ocean) and […]