What would happen if the water cycle stopped?


Quick Answer

If the water cycle were to stop, lakes, rivers and groundwater sources would dry up, glaciers would disappear and precipitation would stop falling. All freshwater resources would be negatively impacted, and life on Earth would completely cease.

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Full Answer

The lack of freshwater would make it impossible to grow food. Foliage would also dry up, causing enormous dust-storms similar to those on Mars. The death of plant life would mark the end of photosynthesis, halting the steady production of oxygen and consumption of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. No plant life would also mean the destruction of all food chains, as photosynthesizing plant and algae life forms the nutritional backbone for the vast majority of life. As carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere continued to increase, air would become less breathable, until it became noxious. The increase in carbon dioxide would also magnify the greenhouse effect, causing the climate to change rapidly for the worse. As more infrared radiation became trapped in the atmosphere, temperatures around the globe would continue to rise. Polar icecaps would melt, causing ocean water levels to rise. Many coastal landforms would sink beneath the waves. The change in salinity due to the excess dissolved water would cause ecological imbalances in marine life, which would also die off.

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