The Mention of Water in the Holy Qur’an (Part 2)
For most substances, solids are denser than liquids. But the special properties of water make it less dense as a solid - ice floats on water! Strong hydrogen bonds formed at freezing 0*C (32*F) lock water molecules away from each other. When ice melts, the structure collapses and molecules move closer together. Liquid water at 4*C (39.2*F) is about 9% denser than ice. This property plays an important role in lake and ocean ecosystems. Floating ice often isolates and protects animals and plants living in the water below.
A heated exchange
Pure water boils at 100'C (212'F), but extra energy is needed to push water molecules into the air. This is called latent heat-the heat required to change water from one phase to another.
Scientists have found one gram of water requires 2,500 joules of heat to change into gas at its boiling temperature. This extra energy is released when gas returns to liquid form.
It also takes a great deal of energy to raise the temperature of water from freezing (0*C or 32*F) to boiling (100*C or 212*F). This specific heat is the heat required to raise one gram of liquid water 1*C. One gram of water needs 4.18 joules of heat to warm 1*C. This is five times greater than the specific heat of sand. On a hot summer day, beach sand may quickly warm to the point that it's too hot to stand on while ocean water warms only a little.
Energy is also lost when water freezes. Water molecules release 334 joules of energy for every gram when moving from the high-energy phase of liquid water to the low-energy phase of ice. Nights when ice freezes often feel warmer than nights when ice melts.
Tension on top
Water molecules at the surface (next to air) are held closely together, forming an invisible film. Water's surface tension can hold weight that would normally sink. You can carefully float a sewing needle or paper clip on top of water in a glass.
Surface tension allows many aquatic insects, like water spiders and pod skaters, to "walk" across rivers and streams. Next to mercury, water has the highest surface tension of all commonly occurring liquids.
The electrical attraction and surface tension of water molecules allow them to "hold on" or adhere to other substances such as glass, rocks, and soil. You can see this property when water creeps up the inside of a drinking glass. Water also clings to living things. Most plants have adapted to take advantage of water's adhesion that helps move water from the roots to the leaves.
One of the tallest plants is the redwood tree. Water moves its roots to its leaves, more than 95 m (310 ft.) above the ground. As a plant loses water through pores in the leaves, more water moves up from roots and stems to replace the lost water. The process of water loss by leaves is known as transpiration.
Water constantly moves between the earth and sky. When the sun warms the surface waters of lakes, streams, oceans, the water evaporates into vapor that rises upward in the sky. Plants and animals also lose water through leaves, sweat, excretion, or by exhaling.
As water vapor rises, it becomes cooler, losing energy and forming clouds. Water vapor condenses into rain or snow (precipitation). Rain falls from the sky, collecting in streams that flow into rivers that reach the sea. Surface water evaporates to rise as water vapor once again.
Scientists call this process the surface, less than water cycle. This global recycling of water creates weather (and water) in many forms- rain, snow, fog, floods, tornadoes, dew, clouds, sleet, frost, and hail.
Oceans alone cover about 70% of the earth's surface. Winds blowing from high and low pressure regions in the tropics push surface water basins. Water currents traveling across the ocean meet continental landmasses, turning to flow along shorelines.
Generally, major water currents flow in United States flow in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in a counterclockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. The mightiest of all ocean currents, the Circumpolar Current, flows in a complete circle around Antarctica.
Sometimes major water currents change when winds weaken or blow in a different direction. One well-studied change is El Nino, the occurrence of warm water current off the coast of Ecuador and Peru. During some years, El Nino may raise water temperatures for 8,045 km (5,000 mi.) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
In addition to changing normal weather patterns, the warmer, nutrient-poor water affects animal life in the sea and on land. During the 1982-1983 El Nino event off South America, seabirds abandoned their nests, a fourth of the seal and sea lion population died, and the anchovy fisheries collapsed.
Every drop is precious. Even though water covers three-quarters of the earth's total surface, less than half of one percent is available fresh water. An estimated 97% is seawater, another 2% is locked in polar icecaps and glaciers, and the rest of the unavailable water is trapped deep below the earth's surface.
Available fresh water comes from many sources: surface rivers, streams, and lakes; underground water held in rock formations (aquifers); collected rainwater; and purified seawater 4.
Considering these wonderful scientific facts about the life-giving properties of water in the nature clarifies the authenticity of this verse:
-...And We have made of water everything living...
This verse is one of the strongest proofs for Muhammed's prophecy. Since, none of these scientific facts about water were disclosed 1400 years ago, particularly to Muhammed as an illiterate man. Holy Qur'an simply exposed these facts to the atheists that they might be inclined to believe in Allah. Surely, this is considered the ultimate purpose of this verse, since it is remarked at the end: Will not they believe?
The Coming of the Universe into Existence
The Creation of What Lies Between the Heavens and the Earth
The splitting asunder OF "The Heavens and the Earth"
How the Process of Photosynthesis Begins In the Morning
Light and Dark