How much water and air sustains the Earth?
Image: Félix Pharand-Deschênes

Created by Félix Pharand-Deschênes, CEO of the non-profit science communication organisation, Globaïa, this graphic shows the 1.4087 billion cubic kilometres of water in the world - including oceans, ice lakes, rivers, clouds, and ground water - in relation to the 5,140 trillion tonnes of air in our atmosphere. The air has been gathered up into a perfect sphere at sea-level density. The grey Earth in the background is to scale.

And here's an earlier visualisation, with of all the Earth's water, to scale, ranging from largest source to smallest source:


Image: US Geological Survey

Largest sphere: All the water in the world
Middle sphere: All the fresh liquid water in the ground, lakes, swamps, and rivers
Smallest sphere: All the fresh-water lakes and rivers

Created by the US Geological Survey's Water Science School, the image illustrates three dimensions, so each sphere represents the volume of water. "The volume of the largest sphere, representing all water on, in, and above the Earth," says the US Geological Survey, "would be about 1,385 kilometres in diameter."