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How much of Earth’s water is stored in glaciers?

Water is the most abundant chemical compound present on Earth's surface. About 2.1% of all of Earth's water is frozen in glaciers. If we use the analogy that 1,000 drops of water represent all of the water on Planet Earth, then we learn that:

  • 972 drops are in the oceans and inland seas (97.2%)
  • 21 drops are in glaciers (2.1%)
  • 6 drops are in ground water and soil moisture (0.6%)
  • < 1 drop is in the atmosphere (less than 1%)
  • < 1 drop is in lakes and rivers (less than 1%)
  • < 1 drop is in all living plants and animals (less than 1%)

About three-quarters of Earth's fresh water is stored in glaciers. Therefore, glacier ice is the second largest reservoir of water on Earth and the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth!


Learn more: Where is Earth's water located?

Tags: Global Change, Glaciers, Climate, Snow, Ice, Polar