John Wheeler: Planet Earth looks wet but it is mostly parched

Water covers about 71 percent of Earth's surface and the average ocean depth is 2.3 miles.

3946302+wx talk (1).jpg

FARGO — There are approximately 326 million trillion gallons of water in the oceans. Most of the water on Earth, about 97%, is in the oceans. The remaining 3% is in the air or in the very upper reaches of Earth’s crust. Water covers about 71% of Earth's surface and the average ocean depth is 2.3 miles. This makes the oceans seem immense, but most of our planet is actually dry.

Earth’s diameter is about 8,000 miles, and there is very little water in the interior of the Earth. The center of the Earth is thought to be made of solid iron surrounded by an iron-nickel alloy, which is further surrounded by layer upon layer of rocky materials of generally decreasing density, mostly with little or no water. Taken as a whole, the planet is quite parched. However, it is the 0.023% of Earth’s mass that is water, and that makes life, as we know it, possible.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
What To Read Next
Get Local


Agweek's Picks