Do Water and Ice Weigh the Same?

The fact that ice floats on water has important ecological impacts.

Do Water and Ice Weigh the Same?

No, water and ice do not weigh the same. For example, if we take the same volume of water and ice in the same container, water would weigh more than ice. The reason is that water is denser than ice and the space it occupies is less as compared to that occupied by ice. Water undergoes different physical states depending on the conditions in which it may be subjected. Some of these states are liquid, solid, as well as gaseous states. Under such conditions, the volume may change hence affecting its weight and density.

Freezing of water into ice results in the discrete molecules of water expanding, hence occupying more space. It is estimated that the volume occupied by the ice is 9 percent more than that originally occupied by water. In the process of turning into solid, the molecules of water expand to occupy more space. Consequently, the same volume of water and ice have varied densities and masses. Therefore, ice floats on water since its density is less than that of water.

Impacts of Ice Floating on Water

It is worth noting that ice floating on water is very important for various reasons. One of the most significant ones is the support of life for aquatic organisms. In case the density of ice was higher than that of water, it would have sunk. Thus, organisms such as fish and plants which survive under water would not have lived since ice would have compressed them. Also, floating ice balances the temperatures of water and the atmosphere. Therefore, fish, whales, and plants, as well as many other living things are protected from the extreme weather conditions.

Another significance of ice floating on water is the climatic impacts. During winter, ice covers seas and oceans, hence acts as an insulator to the deep waters. During the spring, the water starts melting; thus, the heat used to melt the water is absorbed which then warms aquatic plants and animals. Therefore, ice balances weather conditions to avoid adverse conditions affecting aquatic life.

Demerits of Ice

Despite floating ice being helpful in protecting aquatic life, it may be associated with some adverse effects. One of the notable impacts is the rise in sea and ocean levels when it melts. High temperatures during the summer may lead to large masses of ice melting. Consequently, water levels in the sea and oceans may rise to extreme levels. High sea and ocean levels can lead to displacement of people living along the coasts. Also, business activities and tourism are paralyzed hence negatively affecting the economy.

Furthermore, floating ice on the seas and oceans affects transport. Navigation by sea vessels is hindered because ice becomes a stumbling block to people who are traveling through the seas and oceans. Besides, fishing cannot be done as ships and boats cannot pass over the large masses of ice. Accidents may occur in case sea vessels are driven over the ice. Icebergs pose a danger to sea travel since it may tear the vessels, thus causing leakage which in turn may lead to the sinking. Many cases of fatalities as a result of accidents caused by ice on sea transport have been reported.


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