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Water Distribution

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Fried Green Tomatoes
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Fried Green Tomatoes

Topic

Seawater greenhouses

Student Exploration

How would you grow crops in the desert?

Since 2003, scientists have been designing greenhouses for arid regions near the ocean that would use only the local seawater and sunlight to produce fresh water and crops. Check it out: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/02/18/seawater-greenhouses-produce-tomatoes-in-the-desert/

How could this innovation transform areas that are facing water shortages? Are there other innovative ways to produce fresh water?

Extension Investigation

  1. Where is Earth’s water located? http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html Use the chart at the bottom of the USGS website listed above:
    1. Pick one source of water
    2. Brainstorm an innovation that would make that water source more accessible and usable
    3. Describe how it would improve current conditions
  2. Find your own watershed! Use the USGS watershed map to locate your local watershed: http://water.usgs.gov/wsc/watershed_finder.html What are your major local sources of water? Are there multiple sources? What would happen if one or two of those sources were compromised?
  3. Check out the water quality of your local area! http://map24.epa.gov/mwm/mwm.html
  4. How does a greenhouse, even this seawater greenhouse, mimic the process happening on Earth as the sun’s rays interact with the atmosphere? Draw an actual greenhouse and label the drawing with the atmosphere, clouds, the Earth’s surface, etc.

Resources Cited

The Earth Institute. Columbia University. http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/02/18/seawater-greenhouses-produce-tomatoes-in-the-desert/

USGS. http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html

http://water.usgs.gov/wsc/watershed_finder.html

EPA. http://map24.epa.gov/mwm/mwm.html

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