Every single year, millions of tons of dust blow across the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert’s huge expanse of hard-baked scrub and sand. The dust is rich in nutrients, including that all-important phosphorus. It is full of other vital fertilizers as well, and deposits those onto the depleted soils of the Amazon’s dense mass of humid jungle. NASA has been good enough to take a little time away from its worship at the alter of climate change, to actually use some of those publicly-funded satellites to track that atmospheric dust transfer of soil across thousands of miles of land and ocean. Thanks for indulging in some real science for a while, NASA. While this intercontinental link has been known for some time, researchers have now been able estimate just how much valuable phosphorous makes that mind-blowing journey. We think that some 22,000 tons of Sahara phosphorous ends up in the Amazon each year. Coincidentally, that’s roughly the same amount the South American jungle soils lose annually to rain and resulting flooding. I read this in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters. Of the 27.7 million tons of desert dust carried across the Atlantic to the Amazon each year, the phosphorous accounts for just 0.08 percent of that mass. How about that for climate change?
Now … let’s look at water.
In the news lately, much has been made of the Nestle bottling plant near Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and the business arrangements they made with different levels of government. Whether or not you are happy with those agreements on any level, Nestle is not the evil empire stealing our last drops of life-giving H2O. And besides, the previous Aberfoyle Water Company (bought by Nestle) had been operating at the same location for as long as I can remember. Back in the early seventies, we were getting office water cooler bottles from the Aberfoyle bottling company.
O.K., let’s look at water on a bigger scale: Canada gets it’s water from all around the planet. Water covers about three-quarters of Earth’s surface and is, most certainly, a necessary element for life—just as is carbon, and the compound CO2. During their constant cycling between the land, the oceans, and the atmosphere, water molecules pass repeatedly through their different states: Solids (ice), liquids, and gases (water vapour). Regardless, the total supply remains constant. A single water molecule can travel to many parts of the globe as it cycles. Let me repeat that … a water molecule can travel to many parts of the globe as it goes through its cycle.
Let’s look at some details. On land, most evaporation occurs as transpiration through plants. Water is taken up through roots and evaporates through stomata in the leaves, as the plant takes in CO2. There’s that nasty CO2 stuff again. A single large oak tree can transpire up to 40,000 gallons per year. It goes without saying that much of the water moving through the “hydrologic cycle” is involved with plant growth … but that can’t happen without CO2.
The thing about water, is that it really likes being water in some form. Consequently, almost no water is taken out of the water cycle permanently. When we convert energy by burning oil derivatives, coal, and natural gas, we do alter the amounts of compounds. Not so with water. Supplies of freshwater (water without a significant salt content) exist because precipitation is greater than evaporation on land. Most of the precipitation that is not transpired by plants or evaporated, infiltrates through soils and becomes groundwater, which flows through rocks and sediments and discharges into rivers. Rivers are primarily supplied by groundwater, and in turn provide most of the freshwater discharge to the sea. Over the oceans evaporation is greater than precipitation, so the net effect is a transfer of water back into the atmosphere. In this way freshwater resources are continually renewed by counterbalancing differences between evaporation and precipitation on land and at sea, and the transport of water vapour in the atmosphere from the sea to the land. Pretty neat, huh? It’s obvious Mother Nature isn’t a government bureaucrat. If she were, we would all be dead by now.
It’s important to note that nearly 94% of the world’s water supply by volume, is held in the oceans. The other large reserves are groundwater (about 4%), and icecaps & glaciers (about 2%). It may surprise us here in water-rich Ontario, but all other water bodies together account for only a fraction of 1 percent. Residence Times (how long the water hangs around before it travels back through the water cycle) vary from several thousand years in the oceans, to only a few days in the atmosphere.
Yes, we can pollute water, and we can alter the terrain to affect the way water is retained in local areas on the ground. We can also foolishly drain swamps and try to alter watersheds. But, for the most part, the vast volumes of water simply obey the laws of nature which are written by the Sun and the Earth’s orbit around it. We humans have grandiose opinions of ourselves and our ability to control everything … but in reality we are merely slaves to the whims of the stars and the planets. We need to get a grip and seriously trim back our egos before they turn us into slaves of the global, Progressive, socialist insanity that has infected mankind over the last century.
All that water is still here … and it’s going to be here long after we’re gone—D.B. Strutt, 2016