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All about water, week 5

This page has been specially designed and written for thousands of pupils from across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project themed on water. Over a six-week period, we are focusing on oceans around the world, rivers across Northern Ireland and the threats to water.

Pacific Ocean

Out of all the oceans, the Pacific is the largest in the world.

It covers a staggering 63.8 million square miles and separates Asia and Australia from the Americas.

It is bigger than all the land masses in the world combined and borders 55 countries including Australia, Japan, China and the USA.

It is also worth noting that there are more than 25,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean and it covers around 30% of the earth’s surface.

The equator divides the Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is said to have named the ocean ‘mar pacifico’ which means peaceful sea.

Located in the Pacific Ocean is the ‘ring of fire’, a region consisting of hundreds of active volcanoes. Also in this ocean is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

It is the longest reef in the world and extremely popular with tourists. In 1981 it was declared a world heritage site.

The Galapagos Islands, well known for a vast array of wildlife, are also in the Pacific Ocean, as is Easter Island. It is so named because it was discovered by an explorer on Easter Sunday. There are almost 900 carved giant stone figures on Easter Island which date back many centuries.

In the largest ocean on earth, you can fish for lots of different species including tuna, swordfish, salmon, shellfish and sardines.

The Pacific Ocean has been the backdrop for many films. For example the story of the hugely successful animated movie  Finding Nemo began in the Pacific Ocean.

DID YOU KNOW?

The solid state of water is called ice. You may put some ice in your drinks to cool it. When water freezes, its molecules move further apart meaning that ice will be lighter than the same volume of water, allowing the ice to float in your water.

My Favourite Water Pastime

Name: Michael Artherton

Age: 9

School: St Bernard's PS Rosetta, Belfast

My favourite water pastime is in the Raging Waters water park in Wildwood, New Jersey, USA.

My cousin Aidan lives there and I have spent my past four summer holidays there.

Once we get our wrist bands on, we dump our towels on a sun chair and run straight into the Lazy River. We sit on huge rubber rings which are pulled around the river by a current.

The river goes under bridges and past waterfalls which splash us. It's very noisy when all the kids are screaming and splashing each other.

Then we try the water slides. There is always a big queue for the slide called Shotgun Falls. We have to climb up lots of stairs to get to the top.

It's very exciting because you start off slowly, then after a big dip you go flying off the end and fall into a 10 foot deep pool making a massive splash!

I just love hitting the water at speed, then the silence as I swim to the top. My favourite slide is Sky Ponds. We sit on a tube and go through tunnels and I try to knock my daddy off his tube. I always win!

I wonder if they have any new slides for 2017?

Climate change/global warming

Global warming describes a gradual increase in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere and its oceans. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has been rising.

Global warming happens when carbon dioxide, other air pollutants and greenhouse gasses collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation. The pollutants trap the heat, causing the planet to get hotter. This is called the greenhouse effect.

When there is an increase in water temperature, it can result in the death of aquatic organisms, damage to coral reefs and disruption of marine life. It can also lead to rising levels and possible coastal flooding.

Governments around the world now realise the seriousness of global warming and are trying to find solutions. The problems surrounding global warming need to be tackled as soon as possible as it could lead to the extinction of many species and make life more difficult for people, especially in developing countries.

River Lagan

The River Lagan is probably the most well known of all rivers in Northern Ireland.

It flows through Belfast and was a crucial part of the city's thriving shipbuilding business in the early 20th century. The most famous ship of them all, the Titanic, was built in Northern Ireland's capital city.

The River Lagan runs from Slieve Croob mountain in Co Down through Dromara, Donaghcloney and Dromore on to Belfast, before entering Belfast Lough.

Tributaries to the River Lagan include the Ravernet River, Carryduff River and Blackstaff River.

There are now guided tours on the River Lagan and the Lagan Towpath has become a popular walking area.

In 2015 a new River Lagan footbridge was opened for pedestrians and cyclists offering them easier access into the city centre. It cost £5 million.

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