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What Is Their Water?

Updated on August 3, 2018


The Earth’s water content is so extensive that the world ocean has it’s own massive current known as the Global Conveyor Belt. Cold water in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans convert into sea ice. Salt does not exist in sea ice and remains in the ocean resulting in higher density water.

This high density water slowly moves deeper into the ocean. As a result warmer, less dense water is drawn into the region to replace the sinking salty dense cold water. As the warmer less dense water moves Northward, it to cools eventually forming sea ice, continuing the thermohaline circulation.

The Global Conveyor Belt flows South toward the Antarctic ocean which itself produces cold dense water assisting the flow into the Indian and Pacific oceans. In the Indian and Pacific oceans the dense water begins to warm and mix with less dense water which is then returned to the colder waters by the Global Conveyor Belt.

This process provides nutrients throughout the ocean, essential to sea algae and seaweed growth, the base of the food chain.


And just how unique is Earth’s global water system?


Water does exist on the moon, though only as ice in cold shadow regions and under the lunar service, all hidden away from the evaporative energy of the Sun.

This water has been suggested as a resource which could be harvested and mined by colonist. Much of the subsurface water isn’t so deep, and can be accessed by sifting a shallow level.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean.



Nothing to see here. The Sun’s energy is so intense, water does last there for long. Briefly within the cooler center regions of Sunspots, hydrogen and oxygen may momentarily bond forming water molecules in the form of vapor, though quickly break down.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean.



Perhaps, in the shadows of the polar regions may exist water ice. Other wise the exposure to the Sun’s energy is too great and water is evaporated. However, in the shadows of the polar regions, temperatures are low enough for water to exist in a permanent state of ice.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean.



Not likely, with surface temperature exceeding 196 K (470 °C, 880 °F), water could only exist as a vapor, if it is there at all.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean, though once in Venus’ past this nay have been possible.



Due to the low temperatures on Mars, water does exist as ice. Recent discoveries suggest the potential for even the existence of liquid water deep under the Martian surface, though further exploration is required to confirm this potential. The surface of Mars is also covered with indicators that great amounts of water once flowed on the red planet, which is obviously no longer the case.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean, though perhaps once in Mars’ past this was possible.



Water is present in Jupiter’s atmosphere as ice crystals, while much lower into the planet, hydrogen exists in a liquid form. Perhaps an ocean world of liquid hydrogen, not water.

So no liquid water to form a water ocean. It’s missing the O.



As Saturn’s atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s, Saturn too contains atmospheric water in the form of ice crystals. Also like Jupiter, Saturn possesses liquid hydrogen deep within it’s atmosphere.

But again, no liquid water to form a water ocean.



Water ice does exist in Uranus’ atmosphere, and even though in a significant quantity, no liquid water to form a water ocean.



It is believed that Neptune actually has a super heated ocean of water obscured by Neptune’s clouds. This ocean does not boil away due to the great pressure of Neptune’s atmosphere.

So possible liquid water to form a possible water ocean.


Moons of the Solar System

Several moons within our star system are possible candidates for containing liquid water beneath their surfaces. The leading contender being Europa. This moon of Jupiter is covered in a layer of ice believed to be 15 to 25 km thick, while the ocean is estimated to be 60 to 150 km in depth.

A recent study suggests that dark material covering portions of Europa’s surface may be sea salt venting up from the ocean below the ice shell, which is the radiated by the Sun.



As might be expected, little is actually know about the many discovered exoplanets. While water has been detected in the atmospheres of many exoplanets, it has always been in the form of water vapor.

Combine these observations with the fact that the material for making water, hydrogen and oxygen, are among the most abundant in the universe, it stands to reason that many worlds are covered in liquid water.


How did all this material get everywhere?

Source information provided by NASA and NOAA.


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