What if all the oceans disappeared from the Earth’s surface? What would a world with no high seas look like?
What would happen to all the creatures that live underwater? Could humanity survive on the planet if there were no oceans left?
In the early years of our planet, the Earth was flat. But not in a way you may think. The Earth just didn’t have any mountains and was mostly covered with water.
Then, about a billion years ago, land emerged from under the sea and changed the planet’s atmosphere. This led to the debut of the first life forms here on Earth.
Whether the life appeared in the deep sea or evolved in the steamy mud pots of ancient volcanoes, it wouldn’t have been possible without water. Eventually, the planet will heat up, and all the oceans will vanish.
This isn’t scheduled to happen for another billion years. But how bad would it be if all the oceans evaporated right now?
Today, oceans cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface. If you put all that water into Olympic-size swimming pools, you’d need over 500 trillion of them.
With all the oceans gone, we’d still have some water available. Oceans account for 97% of all the water on the planet. The remaining 3% is held in rivers, lakes, underground water, even the ice caps. But that wouldn’t be enough to make up for the loss of the oceans.
The world’s oceans act as a global climate control system. They absorb most of the Sun’s heat and distribute it evenly around the planet, so that no one area gets too hot or too cold.
They also sustain the water cycle, evaporating into clouds and then raining back to Earth. But you won’t need to keep your umbrella at hand, expecting a big storm once all the oceans evaporated. In our scenario, the Earth wouldn’t be able to keep all that vapor in the atmosphere. Oceans would leave our planet for good, turning it into a vast, scorching desert.
Sea creatures would be the obvious first casualties in these conditions. Then, with no oceans to absorb the heat from the Sun, the Earth would slowly roast, until it turned into Venus.
How long would we have till our planet became uninhabitable? Well, whatever water was left would evaporate in a matter of days, leaving humanity to die from dehydration. Most animals would go extinct without water. Who knows, maybe camels would become Earth’s next civilization?
After a few days, plants would give up their attempts to survive without water. After a few weeks, the same thing would happen to our forests. Eventually, they’d catch fire and would keep burning until there was no vegetation left.
In about a year’s time, the Earth would turn into a burnt and lifeless rock. And without water, it probably wouldn’t get the chance to produce life ever again.
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- “Why Should We Care About The Ocean?”. 2018. Oceanservice.Noaa.Gov. Accessed November 28 2018.