Earth's Oceans and Deserts Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Apr 25, 2014

The Oceans

The surface of Earth is largely covered by mineral-rich oceans of water. The largest of these, if seen from a certain vantage point in space, covers almost half the planet. This is the Pacific Ocean ; it was given this name by some Earth dweller who saw it at one of its more peaceful moments. ( Pacific means “peaceful” or “tranquil.”) However, this ocean is not always calm. Revolving storms, called hurricanes in the eastern Pacific and typhoons in the western Pacific, churn the waters and transport excess heat from the tropics toward the polar regions.

Hurricanes also occur in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Indian Ocean. The storms form at lower latitudes, and they almost always work their way either onto a land mass, where they dissipate, or toward cold water, where they expire from lack of heat to sustain their winds. Occasionally, one of these storms strikes a human-made anthill. Some of the planet’s most elaborate anthills are built directly in known hurricane tracks. I wonder why the human Earth dwellers construct so many of their communities in such places?

The waters flow in slow currents around and around the oceanic basins, generally clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern. This gives rise to warm ocean currents along the eastern shores of the continents and cold currents along the western shores. This has a profound influence on the distribution and movement of weather systems in the planet’s atmosphere. When something happens to upset the regularity of these currents, the climate changes over much of the planet. These cycles are natural and have been taking place for millions of human-defined years. However, almost every time such a cycle recurs, especially the sort known as El Niño where the eastern equatorial Pacific waters switch from cold to warm, the humans call the resulting weather a disaster .

The oceans are critical to the balance of life on Earth. They are like the lungs and blood of a living organism. Tiny life forms called plankton live in the oceans; these are eaten by larger life forms such as the fish . Fish are a favored food among the two-legged humans. However, humans dump toxic chemicals and hydrocarbon dregs into the oceans, where they work their way into fish and then into their brothers’ and sisters’ bodies, causing terrible illnesses and suffering. Humans know about this. We have heard them talk about it in their electromagnetic broadcasts. Why do they continue to knowingly harm themselves in this way?

The Land Masses

The oceans tend to heat up and cool down slowly. They hold heat energy. Land masses are just the opposite. They heat up and cool down rapidly. This contrast, along with the oceanic currents and the prevailing differences in temperature between the tropics and the polar regions, creates the climate and weather variations on this third planet from the star we call Sol. Earth is the only planet with weather varied enough to motivate the evolution of life but not so violent or hostile as to exterminate such life before it gets a chance to evolve.

In some places water accumulates in the atmosphere and then precipitates onto land masses in great amounts. This can happen either as liquid water, in which case it is called rain , or as frozen water, known as snow . There are other, less common forms of precipitation, such as hail , but these do not contribute much to the overall ecological system of the Earth.

In the regions where precipitation is abundant and mostly liquid, forests of tall plants grow. Some of these plants are cut down and used as materials by the two-legged humans in the construction of dwellings in their anthills. It is amazing how many different geometries have been invented for these dwellings! The plants, called trees , make ideal building material, and they can be replenished by intelligent management. Unfortunately, in some regions of the planet no attempts are made to replenish the supply of trees. Humans obviously know the supply of trees is not infinite and eventually will be depleted if balance is not maintained. Do they not care about their own future?

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