We all know that our planet has a variety of incredible natural traits, however, some of us are unaware of the unspoken impact that they actually have upon Earth’s inhabitants; although it is true that underwater volcanoes and ice formations are impressive and beautiful, it is often overlooked that these characteristics can also act as vital support for unique and thriving eco-systems! Here are 6 facts that prove just how amazing our planet really is.
1. In our solar system, Earth is the only planet to have water in all three states of matter
Our planet is unique in the fact that water can be found as a solid, liquid and gas.
The water and ice on our planet make up 71% of our earth's surface and hold an incredibly diverse collection of eco-systems that have evolved over millions of years to cope with a variety of extreme conditions.
2. There are around 8.7 million species on our planet
Surprisingly, in what scientists have called the most accurate estimate ever, around 6.5 million of these species dwell on land (many of these are insects), with 2.5 million found in the depths of the oceans; roughly only 25% of the total estimate.
However, it is important to remember that around 95% of our ocean is unexplored! Due to this, some scientists have estimated that there could be even more than a million ocean species yet to be discovered.
3. In the past 100 years, global sea levels have risen by 17m
And it isn't stopping there! If all of the polar ice sheets melted, the sea levels would rise by another 65m. Not only are rising sea levels destroying eco-systems, but soon, some parts of the world will become submerged. The Maldives have a high point of 2.4 metres, meaning that their days above the ocean are limited.
4. Coral reefs are the most diverse eco-systems on our planet
Coral reefs are thought to be home of hundreds or even thousands of species. This huge range of species is due to the fact that reefs are an ideal location for sea-life to find food, shelter and mates and provide safe places to reproduce.
For larger species, reefs also can act as nurseries, keeping fish safe until they are large enough to venture into the deeper ocean.
5. More than 80% of the earth's surface is volcanic in origin.
Over many years, both the sea floor and some mountains were formed by countless volcanic eruptions.
Underwater volcanoes also support very specific ecosystems. The heat created when erupting magma comes into contact with the ocean is ideal for the production of bacteria. This bacteria provides food for small invertebrates including shrimps and crabs, sustaining populations right up the food chain.
6. The earth has an average temperature of 14 Celsius
However, it is estimated that the greenhouse effect has raised this temperature with the ten warmest years in the 134 year record occurring since the year 2000.
Ice plays a vital role in maintaining bio-diversity on our planet. Although it is widely known that our oceans are responsible for thousands of species, many mammals, birds, fish and crustaceans use ice formations in the north and south as a platform for feeding, reproduction and as a refuge from predators.
By Rowan Perry - Voices for the Future
Voices For The Future is a platform for the younger generation to have their say about environmental issues, nature, travel and community.
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