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Water in all its states

Our planet, Earth, is unusual in the solar system due to the fact that it is the only planet to possess an element that is essential for life to progress: liquid water. We have good reason to believe that the presence of water is necessary for life to continue.
The presence of liquid water depends on the solar energy that our planet receives, and therefore on its distance from the sun, and also on the presence of the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect that it causes. Nevertheless, on our planet’s surface, changes in temperature and pressure explain the presence not only of liquid water but also that of ice and vapour. Watch this simulation to find answers to these questions!


Script & direction : Yannick Mahé
Design, animation & development: Thomas Cussonneau
Illustration : Gilles Macagno
Text : Adeline André
Production : CNDP & CNRS (2010)


Scientific expert

Valérie Masson-Delmotte

Valérie Masson-Delmotte

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (CEA-CNRS-UVSQ/IPSL), France
Climate and water cycle

«Water, essential to life, is also one of the essential mechanisms in our planet’s climate. Climate change presents extraordinary challenges such as understanding how the climate machine works; predicting the future climate and its impact, and also implementing policies in order to adapt to climate change and to take action to slow it down. We often just think of climate change as being a change in temperature, however it is the entire water cycle that is involved, in every part of the climate system: atmosphere, ocean, land masses and cryosphere (snow and ice), from the smallest droplet of water to the glaciers of the Antarctic. This polar ice, record of past rainfall, has revealed information which is essential in learning and understanding the evolution of climate. 
Knowledge of climate evolution, the study of processes and modelling of "system Earth" is at the heart of climate science.»


Canopé Ludwig Maximilians Universität München Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster