Earth Compared to All of Its Water and Air

Created to illustrate the volume of Earth’s water reserve and atmosphere, this image renders them as spheres sitting next to the Earth instead of spreading out over its surface.

earth compared to all of its water and air
All the Earth’s water and air. Illustration: Félix Pharand-Deschênes, Concept: Adam Nieman.

Created by Adam Nieman, the visual was the winning entry for the Novartis/Daily Telegraph Visions of Science photo competition in 2003.

From space, Earth looks like a water planet, with oceans covering more than 70 percent of its surface with an average depth of 14,000 feet (4267 meters). However, if every drop of water in the world was collected into a sphere, it would be just 869 miles (1400 km) across – barely big enough to cover Eastern Europe.

The image also shows all the air in the atmosphere (5140 trillion tonnes of it) gathered into a ball at sea-level density.

This technique of condensing Earth’s water supply and atmosphere into spheres somehow makes both of them look even more fragile…


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