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What would the world be like if solid water was denser than liquid water? Density is a property of matter. It is defined as the amount of material that fits in a given space. Denser objects are naturally heavier than objects that are less dense and of the same size. In the same manner that solid objects have density, liquids also have density. In that connection, water is denser than oil. If two objects of different densities come into contact, then the one that is less dense will float on it.
This is termed as density current flows (Merkel). If solid water or ice was denser that liquid water, then water in pipes will freeze and this can cause the pipes to burst. There will be chaos as pipes under the ground will all burst in cold water and people will have nothing to drink as water will not flow in their water pipes. Thus, there will be contaminated groundwater. Once groundwater is contaminated, there is no way to clean it up, and depending on the dense ice submerged under water, there would be disturbing results (Water Basics). Groundwater contamination is tied to many environmental issues including acid rain, garbage disposal, forestry practices and toxic spills. Drinking water will definitely be contaminated and there will be confusion as people panic about plumbing repairs and drawing great quantities of lead from pipes.
Also, when ice becomes denser, then, there would be overflow of oceans and seas that may cause catastrophes of enormous proportions. Biological diversity, already being reduced by various human activities may be one of the casualties of a situation such as this. Accelerated species extinction is an inevitable consequence of rapid warming. What are the implications of this for aquatic life? There will be devastating effects for aquatic life if ice was denser than liquid water. Most of aquatic life would freeze and the fishes will not survive the cold temperatures. The ice will not trap the warmer water below thus, fishes and other creatures will not survive because there will be freezing temperatures under the sea.
Pollution will be of even greater concern since there will be a finite supply of freshwater, or the geographical distribution of water resources. Problems on environmental pollution will arise, particularly air and water, and this will seriously attack humanity in the forms of ailment, resource depletion or scarcity and climate change, which all redound to destruction of life of animals and human beings. With ice becoming denser than liquid water, the aquatic ecosystem will be adversely affected since the pH of the water will change and be below 6. At pH 5.5, there are fewer species in the lake, and those remaining will have trouble surviving. Few fish can reproduce if the pH of bodies of water is below 5. Fish are threatened not only by the increased acidity of their environment, but also by the toxic heavy metals that may have also been affected by this changes in solid waters density. The solubility of metals increases under adverse conditions. Therefore, these metals may be activated in the soil, enter the water and build up in the fish. If the fish is eaten by a bird, the poisons are passed up the food chain.
As this density changes affect minerals, it will kill organism after organism, and the whole aquatic ecosystem will be threatened. Meanwhile, while damage occurs in the soil below, plants will also be assaulted. As plants become more damaged, they are more susceptible to infestation by pests and fungi. Also, there can arise atmospheric pollutants, which correspond, to an increase in the global average temperature. Although this scenario is far removed from happening, with the peak levels of ozone pollution, who knows, there might be changes in densities of water. REFERENCES Merkel, D.
Density Currents. Geological Survey of Alabama. Accessed 6 July 2006 at : http://www.beloit.edu/~SEPM/Water_Works/density_cu rrents.html Water Basics. Accessed 6 July 2006 at : http://www.thewaterpage.com/waterbasics.htm#ice.
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