Water & ice

An iceberg

The Earth is a water world, unique in the Solar System and perhaps the Universe. The oceans carve out coastlines, transfer energy, and drive the climate. They are connected by a network of currents that circle the globe. It is thought past disruption of this network may have triggered mass extinctions of life.

Water in the form of ice shapes our planet - as glaciers have advanced and retreated, they have sculpted mountain valleys and scoured the land. The fate of the Earth's ice, which holds about 69% of the planet's fresh water, hangs in the balance as the climate changes.

The pages in this section contain interesting, fact-filled video clips from popular television series such as Earth: Power of the Planet, presented by Professor Iain Stewart, Horizon, and Planet Earth.

Image: An iceberg floating off the western Antartic peninsula (credit: Steven Kazlowski/naturepl.com)

Water & ice

  • AntarcticaAntarctica

    The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90% of the fresh water on the planet's surface.

  • GlaciersGlaciers

    Glaciers scour the land surface and erode solid rock.

  • Ice agesIce ages

    We are living during a relatively warm interglacial period.

  • OceansOceans

    Oceans cover about 71% of the Earth's surface.

  • The ArcticThe Arctic

    The Arctic is home to the second largest ice sheet on Earth.

  • The water cycleThe water cycle

    Water is constantly moving around the planet.