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The Wonders of Water, from the French of Gaston Tissandier

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Pages: 190

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Gaston Tissandier

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II. THE WATER IN THE ATMOSRHERE. " A portion of the heat of the tropics ie carried towards the poles by an aerial messenger, and it is thus ever equalizing the earth's heat." TYNDAIi. THE VAPOR OP WATER. The air, even when it is pure, transparent and azure, is nothing but an immense reservoir of vapor, it is a vast gaseous sea without limit or shore, which covers the earth on all sides to a certain distance, and beneath its benign shelter live mankind, animals and plants. The surface of the sea, as we have already remarked, emits constantly into the air a vapor indispensable to the needs of life: a drier air we should not be able to inhale: it would parch up the lungs, injure plants and animals, and produce the bad effects which we know to result from the Simoom of the Desert. But a too damp air also has its disadvantages, and every one has heard of the malaria of certain warm and ill-drained localities. Visible clouds and fogs are frequently confounded with the vapor of water, but that is a grave error.This vapor is an impalpable gas which the atmosphere, in combination with the waters of the sea, is constantly generating. Its presence in the air is constant, but it is to be met with in greater or lesser proportions. It exists, moreover, usually in almost infinitesimal quantities, seldom forming more than one half of one per cent, of the whole mass, and yet it is incredible how much this slight admixture of watery vapor affects the meteorological phenomena of the globe. It exercises an enormous influence on terrestrial revolutions, and, to use the words of Tyndall, " if we were to say that in England on a day of ordinary moisture the atmospheric vapors exercised an activity an hundred times greater than that of the air itself, we should speak within t...  

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