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Old 08-26-2013, 03:41 PM
 
22 posts, read 17,831 times
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Hi everyone

I'm hoping that someone with more scientific knowledge than I can help me with this... Or perhaps I'm in the wrong place...

I'm writing a novel set in a possible future Earth where all the oceans have dried up and water is very scarce. The history behind this is based on the idea that (as is presently the case) ocean levels are rising due to global warming, and something has to be done to stop it. As time goes on the process accelerates as the ice caps melt faster than expected.

By the end of the 21st century there is a massive worldwide campaign to take drastic action so that major cities aren't flooded. And so the human race, in its short-sightedness, begins to convert sea water into drinking water and for agricultural use. (I know that this is incredibly difficult to do quickly but let's imagine there is advanced technology to desalinate water quickly).

The plan works - much better than expected -and in fact sea water levels drop enormously in just twenty years. But as ocean levels drop, so does production of atmospheric water vapour, making rainfall less and less common. In just a few more decades water becomes scarce and scientists experiment with ways of synthesising water with other elements.

The oceans are now completely dry, barren and charred deserts. Sun radiation levels reach unprecedented heights. It is impossible to go out into the sunshine without a protective suit. The human race lives in protective domes and becomes nocturnal.

Anyway that is the setting for the story. Without boring you with the details of the actual story itself, what I want to ask, to all you scientists out there is: How plausible is this? Could there be a situation where the oceans dried up and rainfall ended? I know that as we consume water we also excrete it into back into the system, but are there any circumstances where this process dries up and we are left with a barren, scorched and dry Earth?

Thank you for any help!
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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Impossible to happen. In fact it is likely that we will use ocean water for drinking water and for aquiculture use but there is so much water on the planet that we could not use a fraction of it up even if that was our main goal, which it would not be.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:50 PM
 
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OK, but you say it's impossible simply because of the quantity of sea water? What if we had an excessive need for extra water? For instance, imagine we are colonising other worlds and exporting large quantities of water there as a start-up? What if water was also stolen in large quantities by someone from outside the Earth? If we somehow could use up all the sea water, would the picture I'm drawing be a possibility?
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,102 posts, read 20,348,297 times
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I don't think you realize how much water this planet has. We live on a water world and to say we could or would use it all up by the end of the 21st century is just not going to happen.

Now some other race could come and destroy us, there are plenty of end of the world movies out there and they are fun to watch, but the likely hood of that happening in real life is almost 0.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
Impossible to happen. In fact it is likely that we will use ocean water for drinking water and for aquiculture use but there is so much water on the planet that we could not use a fraction of it up even if that was our main goal, which it would not be.
North America has enough fresh rivers. As I know - to seawater make suitable for drink-need capacitors( and this is extra costs-electricity) Sea water contains a lot of salt - if you drink this water you can get dehydrated. On the other hand - a little salt always needed by the body. I agree with you in part.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
I don't think you realize how much water this planet has. We live on a water world and to say we could or would use it all up by the end of the 21st century is just not going to happen.

Now some other race could come and destroy us, there are plenty of end of the world movies out there and they are fun to watch, but the likely hood of that happening in real life is almost 0.
OK I get that, there is a lot of water, far too much for us to use. But I need you to just suspend your disbelief for a moment regarding this and imagine we DO use it all.OK, not by the end of this century, but sometime in the future, for reasons at the moment undisclosed.

My real question is about the atmosphere content... If all the ocean water was gone, would this mean there was no rainfall? And would it be possible for humans to survive in such circumstances?
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:10 PM
 
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OK, thank you everyone for your ideas, but I think I need to rephrase the question:

What would have to happen on Earth for all the sea water and river water to disappear? And would there be any concievable way humans could survive in such circumstances?
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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If you want us to suspend disbelief then you can do anything. I think the movie Dune was based on that if memory serves me right.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,102 posts, read 20,348,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mihaike View Post
North America has enough fresh rivers. As I know - to seawater make suitable for drink-need capacitors( and this is extra costs-electricity) Sea water contains a lot of salt - if you drink this water you can get dehydrated. On the other hand - a little salt always needed by the body. I agree with you in part.
Desalinization plants is the answer.

Look at this video from Dr. Peter Diamandis from Ted Talks:

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Old 08-26-2013, 04:17 PM
 
22 posts, read 17,831 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
If you want us to suspend disbelief then you can do anything. I think the movie Dune was based on that if memory serves me right.
Yes, I take your point and you are quite right. But what I am trying to do is show the reader that we are currently living in a situation where this is something that could happen... way in an improbable future, yes, but even far in that future it will be possible to look back to the 21st century and say "That's where it all started."
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