If the sky is suddenly covered with clouds
and it begins to rain cats and dogs,
we hurry to get under cover,
even in summer,
it’s not very pleasant to get soaked to the skin.
And when the bad weather has passed,
it slips our minds
and we think not about it happening again.
But what if precipitation,
rain, really did disappear from our lives forever?
Normally, from the sky, trillions of small water droplets
0.5-7mm in size form rain and snow ice crystals
when the temperature drops below freezing.
But what if these droplets cease to fall?
At first glance, it would seem there’s nothing to worry about.
But in fact,
the absence of rain will lead to global catastrophe.
If precipitation halts altogether,
one of the central processes occurring in nature will be disrupted.
That is a continuous water cycle.
Moisture evaporates from the surface of the seas
and oceans and migrates up into the atmosphere.
Once there the vapor condenses, collects into clouds
and returns to the ground as rain or snow,
the total amount of this vital liquid generally remains unchanged.
But it’s composition changes radically.
Salt water evaporates from the surface of the seas and oceans
and from atmosphere it returns fresh and purified from harmful contaminants.
But if the evaporation from the seas and oceans
does not return to the earth as precipitation,
the cycle will be broken forever.
The first and most obvious thing that will begin to happen is the disappearance of plants,
会发生的第一件 也是最明显的事 就是植物的消失
many of which serve as food for humans and animals.
First, such heavy water drinkers as silk grass will perish.
Without moisture, they’ll not last a week.
Drought resistant species for example, the Festuca
will last several times longer.
But they too, will suffer the same eventual fate
as the silk grass and
because of the increasing dryness of the soil,
all plants will be prevented from reproducing.
Luckier, will be vegetables and crops.
People will have to water them to provide themselves with food.
For irrigations, salt water from our seas and oceans can be desalted.
Conserving fresh water, modern technologies offer
numerous low cost and simple methods for doing this,
for example, using distillation or electrodialysis.
But water is not endless.
Every year about 577,060 cubic meters evaporates.
Even if people weren’t to use water at all,
then without rain, water would disappear
within roughly 2,500 years and
if we were to use water as we obviously would,
then it would all disappear that much faster and
as the reservoirs dry up,
of course, their inhabitants will die.
When all the plants disappear,
an important food chain is disrupted and
the herbivores that we rely on for meat.
If we add to this the general shortage of water,
it’s unlikely that they will survive under such conditions.
After then, predators will be the next to fall
if they will have no more herbivores to eat and
after that, it will become much more difficult for people to provide themselves with food.
In addition to food problems for humans,
the absence of plant cover will lead to diabolical changes in the Earth’s atmosphere.
During photosynthesis in plants,
oxygen is released an important component of the air we breathe.
If we imagine that photosynthesis ceases to occur,
the remaining oxygen will only last for about 2,000 more years.
Additionally, tree leaves and tall grasses create a soft moist microclimate,
protecting the planet from
withering winds and the scorching rays of the Sun.
Without these protectors,
temperatures will begin to rise alarmingly quickly.
According to some estimates,
temperatures could increase annually by as much as 36℃.
This in turn will accelerate the process of evaporation.
Under such conditions,
problems regarding hygiene will become exceedingly acute.
The lack of available water could cause the spread of a variety of diseases
and it will be difficult to treat these diseases
as the shortage of water will make the production of medicines nearly impossible
And we shouldn’t forget that without water,
the average person can live little longer than 3 days.
The draining of the Earth’s water reservoirs will also lead to difficulties in obtaining
as unexpectedly as it may sound electricity.
Without water, the turbines of hydroelectric plants are doomed
to be stilled forever and
nuclear power reactors will have nothing to cool them.
Due to the widespread shortage of electricity,
many factories will cease to function and
telephone in satellite communication may well disappear.
In addition, problems with heating will commence and
the streets of our cities will drown in darkness at night.
并且 在夜晚 我们城市的街道将淹没在黑暗之中
Thus, the disappearance of the rains will soon become fatal for all mankind,
turning the planet into a lifeless desert.
Is it possible to solve this problem?
Theoretically, probably, yes.
理论上来说 是的 有可能
Water can be obtained by chemical means
for hygiene, food, agricultural needs and drinking and
来满足卫生 食品 农业和饮用的需求
electricity can be obtained using alternative methods,
such as, for example, windmills.
Winds on a planet without trees will become quite potent and
so this method will be very useful.
Energy can of course, be produced using solar cells.
But alas, they only work during the daytime.
In contrast, geothermal power stations are able to generate electricity
from the heat of underground sources for example, geysers around the clock.
利用地热资源 如间歇泉 进行发电
True, modern technology unfortunately does not allow us to
penetrate very deeply into the ground.
At the moment only 2% of the world’s potential geothermal energy is readily available
or 840 billion watts.
But this would be more than enough to meet the needs of humanity.
However, it’s quite likely that
mankind won’t have the time to build the factories that create water
or to construct the required number of windmills to produce enough electricity.
In the case of a natural worldwide catastrophe like this,
every second counts and
erecting complex objects during a water shortage
would put us in quite a tight spot.
Certainly the level and quality of life would fall dramatically
and the population of the earth would significantly decrease.
But the rest of humanity could try to create artificial ecosystem
by building closed self-contained giant domes.
Stocks of water and energy in them should suffice for the needs of plants that support atmosphere
as well as the production of food for humans and animals.
To save mankind,
underground cities may be of assistance.
Under the ground, there’s a fairly comfortable, constant temperature
and no tornados squalls or dust storms.
But if people don’t have time to build capsules or underground sanctuaries,
they are unlikely to survive for long on
the hot dehydrated surface of the planet
and yet even in this case,
life in our world will not end.
It’s likely that microbes and bacteria
which scientists call extremophiles will survive,
these hardy creatures are able to adapt to the unbearable heat
and lack of sunlight and water and
some of them can even survive and reproduce
while being fed only with a steady diet of carbon dioxide.
But whether they can evolve into intelligent beings,
it’s impossible to predict.
So what’s the deal with all this dystopian fantasy?
那么 你可能会问 这些反乌托邦幻想
You may ask?
Well, we haven’t modeled this theroetical situation just for fun.
This is an excellent occasion to raise awareness of
important global problems we face in the 21st century.
We cannot magically violate the water cycle in nature
as we’ve surmised here.
increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations,
increasing particulate matter in the atmosphere
as well as the contamination of water bodies
are all leading to malfunctions or one day to the destruction of the cycle.
As a result, irreversible ecological changes are taking place on the planet.
An example is the caronian spit located in the kalingingrad region.
Due to the destruction of the forests,
this once vibrant ecosystem has begun to turn into a desert.
At present, the speed of deforestation worldwide can reach an unseeing rate.
It’s difficult to talk about exact figures
as the organizations that keep these records
relying mainly on an official data from relevant ministries and individual countries.
According to their estimates,
in just the first five years of the 21st century,
the earth lost six million hectares of forest annually.
This is not even considering the fact that
for example, in Peru and Bolivia,
about 80% of logging is illegal and in Colombia 42%.
There are also large gaps in the data for the Amazon in Brazil.
The only thing that’s clear for certain deforestation around the globe
is happening much faster than official sources report.
If we do nothing, there will be trouble.
One future catastrophe awaits us regarding drinking water
without which we simply cannot survive.
Annually each inhabitant of the earth uses about
750 square meters of fresh water.
According to scientists by 2050,
this figure will be halved,
meaning that up to 80% of the countries of the world wull be suffering from a shortage of fresh water.
Forecasts indicate that in Africa alone by 2020,
预测显示 仅在非洲 到2020年
due to climate change
between 75 and 250 million people
will be experiencing severe water shortages and
by 2030, almost 5 billion people
will be living without satisfactory water treatment,
which will be approximately 67% of the world population.
So that our planet does not become a giant wasteland
and mankind won’t become mired in fierce and
bloody wars for precious resources.
We must first stop this massive deforestation
begin to consume water more judiciously and
look towards more innovative eco-friendly technologies
that will reduce the harmful emissions that are polluting the atmosphere.
We need to entirely reconsider our role in this ecosystem.
At the moment, we are behaving like parasites.
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If the sky is suddenly covered with clouds