When it comes to water on Earth, scientists often think about oceans and seas. Most of the time, they tend to overlook rivers to such an extent that they thought we had fewer of them. A recent study revealed rivers on Earth cover a surface 44 percent bigger than they assumed. In other words, the total surface of rivers would be bigger than Texas.
We have more rivers on Earth than we thought
Scientists should be giving more attention to rivers on Earth, as they tend to ignore their role a bit too much. Therefore, they finally decided to develop a special study to look at them, and the results took them by surprise. After finishing their analyses, they found out all rivers and streams on our planet cover a surface of about 300,000 miles.
This sounds quite a lot, and it’s even more than the researchers were expecting. Before the study, they estimated all rivers on Earth occupied a certain surface. Now, they discovered that surface was 44 percent bigger than they thought.
To reach this conclusion, researchers looked at satellite images of the world and had an advanced software calculate the surface covered by rivers. However, the software could have wrongly identified them, so the research took a second step. For this step, students checked that the software didn’t mistake roads for rivers.
More rivers on Earth might contribute to climate change
Although it doesn’t sound too important, this study can bring a whole different light on the process of global warming. Rivers on Earth are in a constant exchange of greenhouse gases with the atmosphere. Therefore, if we have more rivers, we get more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This gets even worse whenever pollution steps in.
Therefore, the study should work as a warning against pollution. We already have more rivers on Earth than we thought. If we keep dumping waste into them, the future of our planet will definitely not be so bright. This study was published in the journal Science.
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