MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: Does the temperature affect the movement of freshwater

Date: Wed Nov 9 12:57:45 2005
Posted By: Renafaye Norby, Consultant, Evaluation, Science Education
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1129057419.Es

The shortest answer to this question is "no." Obviously if the water is 
frozen, air temperature can cause it to thaw and change the way it moves 
or doesn't move. Otherwise, as long as water is in a liquid state, air 
doesn't have enough stored thermal energy to change the properties of the 
water. Water is much denser than air, and requires a lot of heat to 
change its temperature.  Fresh water's movement is, for the most part, 
controlled by gravity and to a small degree, the water cycle. So 
regardless of air temp (or water temp.) water will still flow downhill 
and move in exciting ways when it is in a whitewater river. 
     Only 3% of the water on earth is fresh water, so we're talking about 
a small percentage of the total volume of water on earth, in any case. 
For more information about water on earth, visit the US Geological Survey 
web site at: http://ga.water 

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